‘Volunteering is a great way to meet new people and feel part of an extended community’

by Anastasia Douglas Student volunteer , a nationwide celebration of student volunteering. We’ll be celebrating the efforts of Marie Curie student volunteers every day this week by asking some of them to tell us what it’s like to volunteer while studying. Anastasia Douglas with her father

Anastasia Douglas is an Expert Voices Group Member and volunteers from her home in Derby. She volunteers mostly at the weekend and spends the rest of her week studying for her MA with the Open University, and working in her full-time job.

I have been volunteering for over seven years now. My first volunteering role was as a Listening Volunteer with the Samaritans during my undergraduate degree. I currently volunteer with Children First as a Peer Mentor and with Marie Curie as an Expert Voices Group Member, at the same time as completing my MA in Philosophy. I felt drawn to the Expert Voices Group at Marie Curie because I wanted to find a way to express my thoughts and feelings as a young person who has lost a parent to cancer and has opinions, questions, frustrations and personal contributions to make. My Dad was, and still is, a massive part of my life and identity and being part of the Expert Voices helps me express that. Being an Expert Voices Group Member gives me the ability to have a voice and be part of an exceptionally caring, progressive charity. I have had the opportunity to help give opinions on the content and design of various publications, hear new strategies for the charity and end of life care, attend conferences and discussion groups and look at what matters to those with a terminal illness and their families. Volunteering for the Expert Voices is brilliant because it is flexible around my life and I feel a part of something great and very powerful on my own personal level. Alongside my degrees and various volunteering roles, I have also carried out some counselling training which I am hoping to continue with professionally once I have completed my MA. My passion for counselling and therapy all stems from the volunteering roles I have carried out; my roles are very much a guiding point in my career and personal development. I would thoroughly recommend volunteering while studying to anyone. Though at times it can be hard, volunteering is very fulfilling, whether you come at it for personal reasons such as being part of the Expert Voices, on a long-term basis or for one-off events. There are many ways to volunteer which can work around your schedule. Volunteering is a great way to meet new people and feel part of an extended community as well as gain experience doing something you are passionate about. To find a volunteering role that suits you, search though our current opportunities and apply online at mariecurie.org.uk/volunteering.