Focus: Fundraising - Me and my charity

Claire Barron was recently invited to a special lunch at Buckingham Palace, where HM the Queen recognised her voluntary work for NCH as part of the Year of the Volunteer celebrations.

Why did you choose NCH?

I really wanted to do some voluntary work because my father had been a volunteer.

However, I wasn't sure exactly what I wanted to do until I came across NCH. It appealed to me specifically because it deals with young people, but also because of the training that NCH provides and the support it gives to the young people and volunteers alike.

How did you first become a volunteer?

I began volunteering for the NCH Independent Visitors project after I saw something about National Volunteer Week on GMTV just over a year ago.

It's basically a mentoring scheme for young people aged six to 21 who are in care and have little or no communication with their parents and families.

What do you like about the project?

There are lots of young people in care who don't have anyone in their lives who are not paid to take care of them.

Independent Visitors provides them with a friend, outside the care system, who can be there to support them or even just have some fun with them.

What do you do to support the charity?

I take my young person out once a fortnight and keep in contact with him on the phone. We tend to go to the cinema, for meals or for day trips.

We always have a great laugh because he has a very sarcastic sense of humour.

I also organised a charity football event last summer for my work colleagues at Vodafone. We raised £7,000, which we split between NCH and the National Autistic Society, Vodafone's partner for the past three years.

Do you support other charities?

I give monthly donations to Cancer Research UK and Barnardo's. I recently raised £132 for completing Cancer Research UK's Stride for Life Walk.

I am also a volunteer mentor for Durham Education Business Partnership, mentoring a student to ensure that she passes her GCSEs.

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