Volunteers' Week: Vanessa - volunteering in Thanet
Vanessa Vajana is 47 years old and enjoys many things in life. Her passion is meeting new people, learning new things, being outdoors, swimming, walking and keeping active. She has been involved in GOGA Thanet for several months as a GOGA activator, helping the project to engage with inactive older disabled and non-disabled people. She supports them in accessing sport and physical activity provision in Thanet.
Vanessa became interested when she first saw the GOGA Activator advert in the local media and realised this would be the perfect fit for her. She made contact with Sarah Johnson, Thanet’s GOGA Lead, responded to the advert and was interviewed. After filling in several forms, Vanessa successfully became the first GOGA activator.
When asked what motivated her to start volunteering, Vanessa answered:
I was looking for a new challenge and the GOGA Thanet project fitted with my plan of inspiring others to exercise to improve their health. I have set up a Supportive Swimming Group- you can find the details on the GOGA Thanet website www.gogathanet.co.uk.
Vanessa has used her love for swimming to help manage her own health condition in a positive way. She wants to inspire others to do the same. Vanessa has great insight into the barriers people face and through this she is inspiring others to get out and get active.
Vanessa also added:
Volunteering for me is part of life. I started volunteering aged 16 (31 years ago!) whilst still in school and continue to do so in addition to my day job. I have volunteered for projects in Italy, UK and Africa. I enjoy helping others and through volunteering, I have given not only time and expertise, but I have also learnt a lot from the different experiences I have been involved with.
“My advice to anyone who is thinking about volunteering is to get involved, volunteering is extremely rewarding. You are able to use skills you already have and gain new ones. Find a project you identify with, donate your time and enjoy the experience!