Nick’s Story

17th February 2023

In a small way, I hope I am helping those with or to whom I read to maximise their potential and improve their futures. Doing this in a local setting, and meeting admirable parents and engaged children living often challenging lives, has been both enlightening and rewarding.

I am a retired solicitor, I am married to the long-suffering Samantha and have three wonderful, adult children. I am an avid reader and always have been. As a child, I loved being read to and, as an adult, I have loved reading to my nephews, nieces, children and godchildren.

Why did I want to volunteer with Doorstep Library?

I read about the Doorstep Library while still working full-time and thought, “Aha – that is something I want to do when I retire.” Why was this? Because I have always enjoyed helping children develop and have been eager to share with them my own passion for reading; I thought volunteering would also provide an opportunity to give something back. So, duly retired, I got in touch and voila.

Did I have any reservations or challenges to overcome before I started volunteering?

What troubled me the most was, as I remember, the prospect of “cold calling” and then engaging with a child and family for the first time. The initial training addressed this head on and watching it done well in practice made doing it myself much less intimidating.

Was it hard for me to find time to volunteer?

 Being retired from full-time work, it was not difficult to fit volunteering into my routine. Rather it became an important feature of my week, with other things having to take it into account.

Why do I love volunteering with Doorstep Library?

Volunteering is a genuine pleasure. The staff and my fellow volunteers are delightful and share my enthusiasm; it is great to work alongside them. The greatest pleasure, though, is the interaction with the children themselves, perhaps reading to a younger child, seeing them enthralled and hearing them laugh with delight. Or sharing thoughts on a book with an older child and listening to them recount how they enjoyed reading something I had recommended.

The specific support I have appreciated most is seeing the “job” done well. The very first visits are a bit daunting and to watch and learn from someone engaging positively with the children and their families, building on self-evidently already-established rapports, was terrific.

What did I enjoy most about my volunteering experience?

A key component of my motivation to work with Doorstep Library was a desire to give something back. I had the immense good fortune to be brought up in a loving family, without worry as to material needs, which nurtured reading and provided constant intellectual stimulus – I benefited from an excellent academic education, too. Samantha and I have worked hard to try to replicate this for our own children. I am under no illusions that all young people are so fortunate and I wanted to be able to share the joy of reading with some who might not otherwise be introduced to it. In a small way, I hope I am helping those with or to whom I read to maximise their potential and improve their futures. Doing this in a local setting, and meeting admirable parents and engaged children living often challenging lives, has been both enlightening and rewarding.