Kathleen - reception/office
Hi, I’m Kathleen and I only joined the Willow Wood family last year. When COVID struck, I had to work from home for a time, and I started to question my work/life balance. At the same time my much loved twin sister became unexpectedly very poorly which eventually led to a diagnosis of Lupus. Coincidentally my husband and I finally paid off our mortgage the same year which was a great relief. He had retired some years earlier and was encouraging me to finish as he could see how stressful my job often was.These factors all contributed to me eventually making the decision to take early retirement from working full time in a large Secondary Academy school.
Although I have missed my ex-colleagues, I haven’t regretted my decision but having worked since I was 16, apart from breaks to have my two gorgeous boys, I did want to keep active, mentally and physically to give me the best chance of enjoying my retirement.
Something compelled me to apply to Willow Wood(not sure what), other than maybe a need to give something back and a feeling I may have some skills they could use. I am so grateful they felt the same and I now volunteer on Reception on Thursday mornings and also help out with other admin jobs in the offices, wherever the priorities are on the day. My previous job had lots of variety and this is the same and involves dealing with visitors (who are experiencing difficult and emotional times), also working on various software and systems to support the fantastic work that the permanent staff do. Everyone is always very busy so it is great to be able to offer help where it is needed and I know the staff really value this help from volunteers. I have been made to feel very welcome and hope I can continue volunteering for as long as I have my marbles and am useful!