Spotlight on… a supported volunteer

29 August 2019

Every Thursday morning in the Norwood head office a sound can be heard as regularly as the weekly fire alarm test. It is the sound of Kaila, who lives at Old Church Lane, and it is the clarion call of “Any shredding?”

Kaila, 30, has been a supported volunteer for more years than she cares to remember. Victorine, the support worker who accompanied her on one recent visit, has been doing so on and off for more than six years, but Kaila’s supported volunteering efforts stretch back to long before Victorine joined Norwood.

The administrative assistance that Kaila provides while she’s at head office is one of the highlights of her week. She wouldn’t say it’s her favourite thing to do exactly – there is, after all, Zumba on Monday, art therapy on Tuesday and gym on Friday to take in to account – but it’s fair to say that, every Thursday, Kaila wakes up with a sense of joy and excitement at being able to make herself useful and see her many friends in head office.

While there, she might try to drum up support for her forthcoming Norwood Challenge hike in Israel (she completed the one in Spain last year), she might even do some tidying in the kitchens. But where Kaila assists the wider organisation best, is in her precision when it comes to sorting and assigning the post, and her experience and expertise at the office shredder. It is here that you are most likely to find Kaila.

Longer-serving members of staff recall seeing a younger, shyer Kaila around the building back in the days when she would barely speak to a soul. Now, every Thursday you will hear her from wherever in the building you sit. And if you do happen to have any post that needs sorting or papers that need shredding, you can be certain that these and other tasks will be carried out to the highest standard by one of Norwood’s extraordinary supported volunteers.