Dr. Emma Board-Davies
This year marks 10 years since I started volunteering with SVC. I began volunteering when I started my undergraduate degree at Cardiff University. I was studying biomedical science, and as a science student I wasn’t your typical student who volunteered. People say that volunteering is a selfless act, but I admittedly started volunteering for very selfish reasons. I hadn’t settled into university well, and when my school friend Lauren had suggested I go find out about SVC’s projects with her, I jumped at the chance to spend time with her. We signed up to the Home and Away project together. As a pair we were matched with a teenage girl with a learning disability, who we spent time with each week. I was delighted to be able to have a catch up with my friend every week - never would I have realised then that I would go on to enjoy volunteering so much, and continue to volunteer over the next decade and subsequently become a trustee for the charity. As a scientist I have to deliver regular presentations at a range of events from internal seminars within my department to international conferences. Volunteering has given me the confidence to stand up in front of an audience, of any size, and deliver such presentations. Communication skills are so important when volunteering and are thoroughly developed over time. Communicating to a range of different people from fellow volunteers, children, vulnerable adults and those with learning disabilities has given me the skills to gage my audience in my science presentations, delivering talks to an appropriate level irrespective of whether I’m talking to the public or specialist scientists. Another skill which is essential in science is team work. I work within a research team to deliver a common goal. My teamwork skills have been improved through volunteering, in particular on the Weekenders project. Within a team of volunteers, we took young carers on day trips once a month. It required all the volunteers working together to ensure a fun and safe trip each month. This has ensured I am able to work well within a group outside of volunteering too. Managing projects was a skill I learnt while leading both the Weekenders and Fantastic 4 projects. This has allowed me to directly translate those skills into managing my research projects throughout my PhD, and into my work now. Financial management is another skill that SVC has allowed me to develop as part of the board of trustees. This has meant that I have confidently managed the budget on my current research project effectively. While direct volunteering experience wasn’t something looked for in my career, it is the one thing on my CV that interviewers have regularly commented on. It is what defines me from other scientists and researchers who all have the same degrees and qualifications. Without volunteering I wouldn’t be the person I am today, and certainly wouldn’t be the scientific researcher I am.
Trustee - Communications and Marketing Officer
As a business student interested in marketing and events, I was looking for some relevant work experience to add to my CV alongside my studies. Although the Business School offers a range of placement opportunities, the role at SVC offered a real and unique experience of working within the voluntary sector and contributing to the local community!
The Trustee roles range from Secretary, Treasurer, Marketing & Communications, Events Coordinator, as well as General Trustee, meaning you can develop specific skills, or learn new ones that you can use in your future career! Being on a Board of Trustees means you are deeply involved in the activity of the charity, meaning your ideas and contributions can bring real change to the community. Although I hold the marketing role, participating in board meetings has allowed me to learn a significant amount about the inner workings of a charity and the Voluntary Sector, such as financing and charity responsibilities. As well as this, it really feels as though you are part of a team which makes volunteering for SVC so enjoyable. As a final year student, it can be difficult to put time into other things, however the Trustee role has allowed me to balance studying and volunteering while gaining valuable experience which is sure to help me in my career. Once you see the amazing work that SVC does in the community, it is even more motivating to get involved as much as possible as a Trustee.
The highlight of my role this year was running the Snapchat Takeover, in which SVC takeover the Cardiff University Snapchat for a day during Volunteering Week. We built bird houses with adults with learning disabilities, and whilst previously having no experience of volunteering, it was so fun to get involved and see the beneficiaries of SVC enjoying themselves. It was also a fun and creative way to promote the charity and show the great work SVC does to a wide audience.
Being on a Board of Trustees has been a great experience and one I would 100% recommend. I have learned so much, particularly from other Trustees who are a mix of students and professionals. Not only would participating on a Board stand out on your CV, it is an extremely rewarding and enjoyable experience!
If you would like more information about what being a Trustee involves then please see -
You can apply to be a Trustee for SVC here