Wednesday, 4 June 2014


It's Volunteer week across the UK this week, so I'd like to take the opportunity to share one of our volunteers stories.

Meet Lorraine.

Lorraine attended arts on prescription originally to get out more and to help build her confidence. She first attended a confidence building course at Nelson and Colne College and they told her about arts on prescription. She came on one of our sewing courses, back in 2009. The course helped Lorraine to make friends and meet new people and she is still in touch with the people she met on the course. They regularly meet up for a brew (that's northern English for a cup of tea or coffee for our international readers) and a catch up.

It was this group who mentioned that Arts on Prescription were starting a volunteering project, and they all decided to attend the meeting we held to explain how the project would work and what would be expected of people. Lorraine was initially nervous and worried about what to expect and did think she wouldn't be able to do it and that she thought she might have to teach people which she did not want to do.

After attending the meeting she felt a lot better about everything as we had explained she would not have to do anything she did not want to do and that a helper role would be great for us and more the kind of thing that would suit her.

Lorraine was placed as a volunteer on our cookery course, Around the World in 10 dishes with our lovely tutor Jayne. Jayne and Lorraine got along well from the start, as Lorraine said, they "gelled instantly". Lorraine was soon helping out with our cake decorating course too, as our original volunteer for that group was unable to attend.

Throughout her time volunteering Lorraine has felt appreciated by Jayne and the group and has really enjoyed her role in the sessions. She helps some people on a one-to-one basis as and when they need it, she learnt various chopping skills and chops for others who struggle physically and she brews up for the group too. (See above note!)

Lorraine explained how she had noticed the changes in people, many of those who were quiet in week one, started to settle in and open up to the experience.

"We're all in the same position, all nervous, but I've been there and know what they're going through even though we are all different".

Lorraine noticed her confidence building through every week.

"I learnt how to listen to people and how to step in when needed."

She has always loved baking, but freely admits decorating cakes wasn't her strongest point. She has taken all the skills on board and uses them regularly. She has mastered piping, the secret is to pipe your cream or frosting and to pull the nozzle away quickly to create peaks. One of the highlights of our cookery course is that you get to take home all the lovely goodies.

As she continued to volunteer, Jayne encourage Lorraine to complete her food hygiene certificates and she completed level one. She is moving to level two soon. She is also attending a Maths and English course and is about to do a first aid certificate.

All these skills combined and after a long time out of the workforce Lorraine now has a paid job.

Lorraine says that she has noticed such a difference in herself as she has got her confidence back and her overall health has improved.

Finally we asked Lorraine for her advice to others thinking about volunteering or joining a course and she said...

"Take the plunge. Don't be scared because everyone lets you work at your own pace, you're not pushed to do anything you don't want to do and you can make new friends".

We'd like to say a huge thanks to Lorraine for letting us share her story here.

For anyone interested, we do still have some spaces on Cookery on Thursday mornings and Baking on Friday mornings. Just call us on 01282 661784 or text us on 07815 962190 or email if you want to join.

Thanks for reading,


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