Meet Jackie Mace Who Volunteers as an Admin Support

Tell us a bit about yourself

I live in Hitchin and work as a freelance development editor and project manager. Most of my clients are publishers who produce teaching resources that support the National Curriculum or Ministries of Education overseas. One day I might be contracting authors to write a chemistry textbook; the next day I might be checking the functionality of a digital maths game.

Why did you decide to volunteer with CANH?

CANH is the third organisation that I have volunteered with. I was a volunteer at London Zoo for nine years. That involved talking to visitors about the animals and some animal handling. Try getting an armadillo into a pet carrier! Spending every Friday outdoors, dashing from the butterfly house to the squirrel monkey walkthrough, was a contrast to my day job, which is desk-based. After that, I volunteered for a hospice charity shop.

Then, I saw a Facebook post from CANH. They were looking to fill a range of voluntary roles, including admin support. I’d always shied away from voluntary work in an office, assuming that an organisation would only be interested in using my editorial skills; I wanted to transfer my skills to other areas. Then I remembered how helpful CANH had been when I sought their advice regarding a client who persistently delayed paying an invoice that I had submitted. CANH explained my options, and, yes, my client settled the debt eventually.

How often do you volunteer?

Officially 4 hours a week on a Tuesday morning, but I often do extra from home if a publishing project is delayed or not running to schedule.

What does your typical day volunteering involve?

I provide admin support to the charity’s CEO. I tell her to throw whatever tasks she likes at me. She’s a busy person, so I’m happy to help in whatever way I can. One of my regular tasks is to compile the stats that reveal the number of clients CANH helped the previous month and the issues presented. The figures rise month-on-month. I look around the office, the hub of activity and think about the amazing work that Citizens Advice does to help everybody, regardless of their background.

What have you got out of volunteering with CANH?

Ask a volunteer what they gain from the experience, and they will likely say, the opportunity to give back to the community. That’s my response, too. In the last two years I have gained a greater awareness of the make-up of North Herts. Look beyond the hair salons, nail bars and coffee shops - the cost-of-living crisis is real and having an impact on households.

What would you say to someone who is thinking of volunteering?

CANH is an incredibly worthwhile charity that values its volunteers. I have never left the office without being thanked and feeling useful. The roles that volunteers carry out are diverse: some are client-facing, others are in the back office or out in the community. There is something for everyone, and you’ll be greeted with a warm welcome. Don’t be afraid to get in touch because the team is lovely and supportive.

To relax and unwind I like to …......

Gardening – my husband jokes that I’m forever pruning shrubs into ‘little balls’! Researching my family tree.  Watching YouTube videos to improve my DIY skills

Find out more about volunteering with CANH on their website