Volunteer Spotlight on Pat Greenall
Pat has been one of Revive’s amazing volunteers for over 3 years now, and supports us at our Wednesday drop-in sessions giving advice and also runs our Employability training. Pat had always been interested in involving in refugee supporting organisations when she finished working.
How long have you been a volunteer at Revive?
I think I joined in 2017; over three years now. I volunteer one or sometimes 2 days a week
What is your volunteer role at Revive?
I attend Wednesday Drop-In in Salford at The Spiritan Centre to help triage and advise Refugees and Asylum Seekers on a range of welfare and benefit issues. I also run Employability Courses; six sessions to prepare asylum seekers for thinking about their skills preparing and filling in forms and attending an interview. I have enjoyed the social events and the days out when we have visited different places with other volunteers and refugees and asylum seekers.
How did you first get involved with Revive?
I had been interested in volunteering after finishing a post in Adult Care and being a local councillor. I was interested in finding out about Immigration and Asylum Field and meeting people from different cultures. I tried to volunteer in Rochdale near where I live but at the time British Red Cross were not taking on new volunteers; I found out about Revive on the internet and it seemed like a vibrant, positive organisation. I spoke with Pat O and then tried out both Beswick and Salford.
What was your background before volunteering at Revive (e.g. job/career, other volunteer experience, travel, family life)
I have been a school teacher, worked as an advocacy coordinator for a small charity in Rochdale and worked in Adult care Tameside. I was a carer for my elderly aunt but she recently has gone into a care home. I enjoy visiting my 3 children and 5 grandchildren in Scotland, Newcastle and London. I started a creative writing course this year.
What do you think the best things about Revive are?
The social events and days out and the range of different activities offered to refugees and asylum seekers. I enjoy how open and friendly both the staff, volunteers and clients are. The majority of the clients are very appreciative of what you do and give a lot of praise and feedback if you are doing a course etc with them. I like learning new skills eg about Mental Health and liaising with other groups in Manchester eg Mind, Refugee Action and British Red Cross.
What has been your highlight so far in your volunteering experience at Revive?
My first trip to Clitheroe with Revive to meet with the joint faith community and go on a walk in The Ribble Valley and experience excellent hospitality from everyone there.
I have enjoyed being part of The Music Nights at Revive and how Toni and her friends from Nordoff Robbins created a great atmosphere with guitars drums, percussion and people singing and put everyone at their ease. The music reflected the background of all those who attended.
I like how co-operative and friendly the employability classes have been e.g. one asylum seeker gave the group a couple of short practise sessions at Tai Chi as he is a trained instructor and is waiting till his English improves before applying for a job.
Anything else you wish to share/say...
I have met some very interesting people at Revive who have told me about their different lifestyle in their home countries and how they have adapted and learnt to understand a totally different way of life. I have met Syrians, Iranians, Nigerian and Sudanese people who have described their experiences. I am amazed by how resilient and flexible they are despite the bureaucracy and change of circumstances they have undergone.
I was hoping to organize a group day out to my parish before The Lockdown but perhaps will manage to arrange it for 2021. I have joined an organisation called Radar in Rochdale which finds support and temporary accommodation for Refugees locally and would like to participate more with