Local Hero - Rachel Johnson Rachel Johnson, from Southampton, has been finding time to volunteer since she was 14. It is something she continued to do through university and has since become an important part of her life. Many of Active Nation’s charitable initiatives rely heavily on support from volunteers to enable us to be able to keep offering them. So Rachel, and other volunteers like you, thank you for your continued support. We caught up with Rachel to find out more about the valuable skills she has gained through her volunteering experiences. Why did you start volunteering Rachel? I first volunteered as part of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme. I found it thoroughly rewarding and was keen to continue when I went to university. As a student, I didn’t have much spare cash to help charities financially, but I did have time to give. Many charities rely on volunteers in order to continue the work they do and so I wanted to help in this way. What do you like most about volunteering? Volunteering is a great way to engage with the wider community. It also offers the chance to meet new people and learn about how life can be different to the way you know it! I have always had an interest in recreational sports and believe that everyone should have the opportunity to take part in sport if they want to. Which Active Nation initiative have you volunteered for? My interest in recreational sport is the reason I was drawn to the ActiveAbility project, along with the wide variety of sports and activities available. Activeability is a Sports England funded programme and focuses on making sports and exercise accessible to individuals over 14 years old who have a disability. It has been great fun learning a new sport and sharing a common interest with those taking part in the project and seeing them benefit from it. What does the future hold for you? When I started volunteering with the ActiveAbility project, I was also looking for work and unsure of what career I wanted to pursue. My experience with the project has helped me to explore different jobs relevant to what I enjoy doing and I am now about to start work as a Therapy Assistant. Furthermore, it has been a great networking opportunity and I am looking forward to seeing how my involvement with ActiveAbility will develop and where it could lead me in the future.