Hello and a very warm welcome to my newly relaunched blog. I'm Paul a 40 year old family man from the UK. In this complex, information overload 21st century world, too often we lose sight of what's really important. Here I want to celebrate life, share inspirational stories, throw the spotlight on charities and causes close to my heart. Looking forward to sharing this journey with you all.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Making the most of your precious spare time -National Volunteers week!

First of all, it's great to be back and posting.

Apologies for what's become a fairly lengthy absence, but I was fortunate enough to spend the last 2 weeks in May on our family holiday on a Cruise trip around the Mediterranean - plenty of great experiences to share on that, and this week has been about catching up with my work commitments.

Heartened to see that my blog has continued to receive comments and even some new followers in my absence , that alone is more than enough motivation to keep me going.

One of the things that really struck me during the cruise trip and that made it so special , was that with a very limited TV service and so much to do on board and visiting the destinations, the holiday really seemed to last a long time. 

Made me re-evaluate how much time I still waste on a nightly basis flicking through the TV channels and all the popular culture dross that fills the air time, and how with 2 weeks completely away from all of that I don't seem to have missed anything.

With my full time work commitments, and my determination to continue to build on this blog, clearly something has to give, and as a British Kids TV show "Why don't you?" used to delight in telling us it really is time to "Turn off the television set and go out and do something less boring instead!!" 

Inspired by fellow bloggers and commenters here, 've been trying to find a way to fit in some volunteering time and over the last hour or two I've had a look through my company's website. 

As luck would have it, here in the UK it just happens to be National Volunteer week http://www.volunteersweek.org.uk/About+the+Week running between the 1st and 7th of June so for those of you in the UK I would encourage you to take a look

Another great discovery for me is that my company is partnered with the Princes Trust. For those of you unfamiliar with the charity, set up by Prince Charles here in the UK, it does some fantastic work particularly around supporting young people from across the social spectrum in community work and business opportunities. Back in 1994, as a  graduate struggling to find work, I took part in a 12 week volunteers programme that had a massive impact on my life in so many ways. I promise I will write up the full story here soon 

In the meantime , I've signed up via the following link  www.princes-trust.org.uk/beexceptional in the first instance as a workshop facilitator, and according to the website, it's just a case of finding out when there is an opportunity to help in my regional area and going from there.

So hopefully rather than just talking about my past volunteering experiences with the Trust, I can add to them here very soon. 

One of the most memorable and inspiring aspects of the Princes Trust programme for me was the week I spent working as a volunteer at the skylarks holiday centre, which provided holiday facilities and activities for disabled guests and restbite for their carershttp://www.vitalise.org.uk/getdoc/8f264128-ba58-4685-b14c-

I would strongly encourage anyone who can spare a week or so of their time to get in touch and get involved - it means such a lot to the carers and guests, and the benefits you get in terms of perspective and appreciation of life are immeasurable.

One of the most memorable and inspiring parts of our cruise which was with Royal Carribean's largest European ship the Independence of the Seas, was the fact that all of its facilities and activities had been built with accessibility in mind. 

It was fantastic to see such a large number of disabled guests on board using a variety of wheel chair and motability support systems able to enjoy their holiday time to the full. 

So I'm back, I'm refreshed and ready to go - please keep your ideas and suggestions coming in!!


  1. Congratulations! Sounds like you had a rich and wonderful holiday. Travel gives one a whole new perspective on what really matters. So many attachments and habits one can happily live without.

  2. I am not a regular TV viewer, I like to spend time in my craft room instead.
    So great to see so much positivity in your post, Paul. Keep up the great work.

  3. PS: Don't forget, as I mentioned in a previous post, if you want me to send you a few cards to sell, email me via my author blog. :)

  4. cheers Marty -there's a big old world to explore out there and there's certainly no time to be sitting around passively

  5. Thanks Glynnis - I'll certainly take you up on that offer!

  6. Welcome back! I'm glad you had a refreshing holiday and a chance to unwind.

  7. Thanks wanderlust -I certainly feel reenergised, and these days travel seems to open my eyes to so much more possibility than it did before - plus I got to sing a fairly horrendous rendition of summer of 69 with a live band!

  8. Thank you for keeping up with my blog, and I am so very happy to be able to sing again! I hope you enjoyed that cruise, it sounded great. I'll best you are rested at relaxed! We tend to take things for granted with all these new electronic things around our homes. I have actually recently just started to watch TV again and I'm already getting addicted!

  9. Ta Amanda, yes its certainly good to get away from the gadgets and just experience life, especially when surrounded with people from so many different countries and from all kinds of backgrounds

  10. Our organisation has a few volunteers and Volunteer Week was really a great opportunity for us to thank them for the time they do give up to help us. I guess it's important to remind them that they are valuable.

    But what better way to waste that spare time you have in a day but by helping people. We are a disability information organisation, so the people working with us help us to find accessible businesses in some regions. In the end this will help people with disability all over Australia and even tourists. This is so valuable and I am so glad that there is atleast one week in the year that they are really properly recognised as a whole!



  11. Hi Alyssa, thanks very much for dropping by - I look forward to keeping in touch about your organisation , really sounds like you provide a truly invaluable service!


Hi, this blog is all about sharing ideas and feedback - would love to hear from you!