1.Tell us a little bit about yourself
I’m originally from the sunny south of Italy but have been living in Scotland for about two years now…far away from my friends and family! It’s always been a dream of mine to come and visit beautiful Scotland and in 2016 I had the opportunity to come here to study. I’ve had such a great time living in Scotland that I’ve decided to make this my permanent home where I work, volunteer when I can, and just generally enjoy life.
- Tell us about your Volunteer Role
My main volunteer engagement has been with the CommUnity Bubble project which is dedicated to helping Scottish communities come together. The project encourages people to get to know each other and to work together to improve their area or to solve any community problems they may be having. I’ve volunteered for this project for about three months now, doing both admin tasks and helping to run events in different communities. Events have been the best part as I’ve been able to meet local people from different areas and listen to their stories and aspirations.
- Why did you originally decide to get involved?
Having finished my studies, I was looking for ways to best use my time whilst looking for employment and I thought volunteering would be a great way to put my skills and experience to good use, whilst also providing me with the opportunity to learn more about the different communities in Scotland. Joining this project as a volunteer was a decision that just came naturally as I thought it was a unique project where I could apply my skills to benefit others. I thought this was a great way for me to contribute to the important cause of rebuilding communities whilst at the same time allowing me to meet new people.
- What impact did volunteering have on you?
The experience of volunteering with this project has changed the way I think about my own community. I can see how hard it’s become to get to know even your closest neighbours and to get together to help each other. I now notice myself thinking more about how I can help my neighbourhood, even with little things such as offering a cup of tea to my neighbour Rosie or cleaning the sidewalk from the litter brought in by the wind. From personal experience, I also know how hard it can be for people coming from abroad to integrate and maybe in the future I can do something about this too.
5. What was your most memorable moment (to date)?
The first event we organised in Tillicoultry where residents were invited to come together was definitely the most memorable moment for me. It was great to see and hear the stories that some locals shared about how they’d taken the initiative to get people together (and funds) to provide Christmas lights for their beloved town. A small initiative that everyone knew about and definitely made people happier.
6. Anything else you would like to share with us?
During my interaction with people at the different events I’ve participated in, I’ve noticed that people are generally willing to contribute to a better community spirit in their area but often there aren’t many opportunities for people to get together and have a conversation about it. I hope there will be more projects in the future like the CommUnity Bubble which provide opportunities for small communities to come together and share their joys and sorrows with each other.
Mauro has also written a blog about his experience which can be found on our website: https://www.volunteerscotland.net/about-us/news-blog/our-blog/re-connecting-our-communities/