Toggle menu

Spotlight On

Find out about some of our volunteers

Ian Nicol

Spotlight on - Ian Nicol 

My name is Ian Nicol and I have been a volunteer with the Advice Shop for around 5 years.  I am an Outreach volunteer in St. John's hospital where I raise awareness of the services provided by the Advice Shop with patients visiting the hospital and I have also taken on a 2nd role as a Volunteer Driver and this involves delivering parcels from the School Clothing Bank to Advice Shop customers.  It will soon also involve delivering toys from River Kids.

I had never volunteered before but I retired during the winter and by the spring I was getting a bit bored and was missing the team spirit of the workplace.  My daughter-in-law saw an advert on Facebook from the Advice Shop looking for volunteers and she told me about it as she thought it was something I might be interested in.   I gave them a call and went along for a chat with the volunteer co-ordinator and applied for the position of Outreach Volunteer and was successful in my application.  I attended training and this gave me a good understanding of what the role involved and how to approach people. This new role gave me a focus again and I felt I was doing something for the community as well as learning new skills and getting the opportunity to meet many new people including other volunteers.

All volunteers in the Advice Shop are offered many training opportunities throughout the year and I always enjoy any sessions that I attend.  Going along to training also gives you the opportunity to meet and chat with other volunteers.

I really enjoy my volunteering roles as I feel I am helping people.  On one occasion at St. John's I met an elderly couple and we got chatting about hospital appointments and they told me that hospital transport would only take the patient and not his wife so they were going to have to get a taxi which was going to cost £16 each way so, fortunately, I had just found out about Dial-A-Bus and how much cheaper that would be for them so I passed on the information so they could book it for future visits. I really felt that I had made a difference that day as they were so worried about the cost.  In my driving role I also feel I am helping when I see the look on people's faces when they see the quality of clothing being supplied for their children. I have only delivered a couple of parcels from River Kids but I am sure this will get much busier on the lead up to Christmas.  It just gives me so much satisfaction to know that what I do takes some pressure off people at a difficult time in their lives.

I am glad to be back volunteering after almost 2 years due to Covid.  It has taken a while to get back to normal but if feels like we are getting there now.  We are back to having volunteer meetings and the new training calendar is coming out soon.  The volunteering team make sure we are kept up to date about what is happening in the Advice Shop and kept in regular contact with volunteers throughout Covid.  It will be nice to meet up with the other volunteers again and to meet the new ones that have joined more recently.

I would recommend volunteering to anyone especially people who have retired and are keen to help their local community.  There are so many different volunteering opportunities available.  Unfortunately, I don't have as much contact with my friends as I did before Covid due to different circumstances and the cost of petrol so volunteering really gives me something to focus on.  You don't have to worry about being out of pocket while volunteering as the Advice Shop will pay travel expenses when attending training, meetings and carrying out your volunteering role.

As I've said previously I get a lot of pleasure from volunteering and it doesn't bring the stress that being employed did - satisfaction without the pressure! Volunteering isn't a big commitment for me as it only takes up somewhere between 1 and 1½ days per week so I still have plenty of time to spend with family and to do other things, but many of the roles available in the Advice Shop are only for 2 to 3 hours per week.  Go on, give it a go!

An image relating to Spotlight On - Janet Cooper
Janet Cooper - Macmillan@West Lothian: Information & Support Volunteer
An image relating to Spotlight On Emilia - Disability Benefit volunteer
Emilia has been volunteering with the Advice Shop since 2018 as a Disability Benefit volunteer.
An image relating to Spotlight On Robert Rae
IT Buddy & Medical Assessment Buddy
An image relating to Spotlight On Aldyth Carrick
Macmillan@West Lothian Information & Support Service Volunteer
An image relating to Spotlight on Danuta
Communication Volunteer
An image relating to Spotlight On Linda McFarlane
I started volunteering with Macmillan after spending most of my working life working as a Nursery Nurse with West Lothian Council.
An image relating to Spotlight On Jim McDowell
Medical Assessment Buddy
Macmillan@WestLothian Volunteer
I have been a Medical Assessment Buddy with West Lothian Council's Advice Shop for around 4 years now. However, my first step into volunteering was with YAP (Youth Action Project).
Macmillan@WestLothian Volunteer & Outreach Volunteer