Opinions

You don’t smile this much at work!

Written by: Kevin Geddes, Director (Development and Improvement), the ALLIANCE

Published: 05/08/2014

ALLIANCE staff have been part of the Commonwealth Games supporting "Clydesiders".

The phrase on everyone’s lips these past few weeks during the Commonwealth Games has been ‘People Make Glasgow’. For around 15,000 of us it’s been a fantastic opportunity to show the world that it’s true! It seems like a long time ago that Lesley and I filled in our volunteer application forms, went along for our interviews and waited patiently to find out if we’d been selected as Clydesiders. We never thought at that time that we’d end up being selected for the same volunteering role – Spectator Services – and at the same venue for the Games – Tollcross International Swimming Centre. How lucky were we!

We signed up for six nights of cheering, high fiving, whooping, megaphone chanting, directing, showing people to their seats and generally anything which made sure people had a fantastic night by the pool. Oh, and smiling too! I think Lesley  was surprised how much I could smile – and she told me every day – I clearly need to work on this in the office, but being part of the Games was so much fun we couldn’t help it. Obviously work is fun too (I have to say that), but this was our chance to do something completely different for a while, and work with people we wouldn’t normally. I’m not sure how the  team would react if I rocked up to the office with my Big Foam Hand high fiving everyone, thanking them for coming and  hoping they all had a great day?

I am also not sure the healthcare professionals I link with would recommend taking on seven hour shifts after work, most of them standing (and cheering) with one short break (at a random time) but for me it’s an important part of my own self management. Many of my other volunteer colleagues were living with long term conditions too, I met people living with diabetes too, arthritis, cancer, the list goes on. Like I did, they jumped at the chance to do something ‘for me’ and also to give something back. People came from all over the UK to volunteer, and for many different reasons. I met a lot of  students and teachers, some retired people, a few ALLIANCE members and loads of folk like Lesley and I who were fortunate that our employers were supportive of our volunteering.

During the six days we covered lots of different roles in and outside the pool. We both had so many highlights whether it  was a great interaction with someone in the crowd, or chatting to Erriad Davis, Team Scotlands youngest member and now para-swimming Bronze medallist, before her race. By the end of night six we were all exhausted, but still smiling! We are looking for our next volunteering experience – it’s addictive – so watch out we might pop up with our smiles and Big Foam Hands again soon! Who knows I may even smile now and again in the office…

Join in the ALLIANCE ‘V is for Volunteering’ campaign to support Self Management Week 2014 by tweeting your pictures to @AllianceScot More details here

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