This is an interview with Sijo Joseph, our Marketing and Volunteer Coordinator, about how volunteering for FURD has led to him becoming a paid member of our team. This interview was first done for Sheffield Volunteer Centre.
What are three words or sentences that you'd use to describe volunteering?
1. Volunteering is about serving with no expectation.
2. It gives one self-satisfaction.
3. It gives you an assurance that you are making a difference in someone's life
What difference does FURD make to the community?
It brings people together from different backgrounds and ethnicities to build a stronger and united community to tackle various issues related to racism and discrimination.
What do you do in your job at the charity?
In my current role, I handle multiple projects including managing and coordinating the marketing and communication activities of FURD. I coordinate the youth social action project #Iwill, and in my free time I also help with admin related activities of the U- Mix Centre.
What did you do as a volunteer at Football Unites Racism Divides (FURD), before you started your job there?
I started as a photographer for an 'All Nations' football tournament at FURD. Later, I helped in developing communications and design materials for funding and marketing purposes.
When did you start volunteering? How long were you volunteering at FURD before you started your job?
19th September 2017
Why did you start volunteering at FURD?
I moved to UK permanently in 2017, and it was a new start to life so I was trying to find a job. I had plenty of time in my hands and I looked for options to volunteer in the area that will be of interest to me. I decided to give my time to a charity that was involved in sports because that is my passion and I also wanted to gain work experience. FURD was such an amazing concept in terms of a sports for development model and so I had no hesitation in choosing to volunteer with this charity.
What did you get out of volunteering, and what do you get out of working at FURD?
Volunteering kept me occupied and it's such an amazing way to maintain good mental health. Volunteering has given me confidence to interact with people from different communities and I gained knowledge to understand the landscape of football in the UK and how it's used as a tool to bring communities together to tackle different problems. As a volunteer, I had no expectation of taking a job at FURD but it was a smooth transition and it was great to be given the opportunity of a part-time job.
The team at FURD is small in numbers but with so much experience working in the community, with young people and in football development work. I get to learn from my team and from our clients and it adds to my previous work experience. As I mentioned earlier through the profile of work that FURD is involved, I'm assured that through my job role I'm making a difference in the community and among young people here in this country. I'm from India and there is so much I can take back through this experience with FURD to my country but I also enjoy what I can give to the community in Sheffield.
Why do you think others should volunteer?
Young people should volunteer to invest their time to improve skills, learn and gain experience. It is also important as an act of service, giving your time for people in need. I feel that it makes a difference in their lives as well as yours.