A deep family connection is important and necessary for all of us, no matter who we consider as family. Our need for bonding is natural and some contexts nurture it more than others. We are happy to discover such cases under the umbrella of family volunteering so let us meet how the Williams family juggles everyday life with volunteering.

The Williams family consists of mum (Edith) and her two daughters (Jessica and Amelia) who are in their late 20s / early 30s. They all work and volunteer in a range of healthcare and educational roles across the local community. Edith’s parents were a big influence on the whole family’s volunteering: her dad used to volunteer at a day-care centre and at the church they attended, while her mother was a Brownie leader.

Edith used to help out with both. This has led to a lifelong passion for and commitment to volunteering and community support: she has been involved in the Brownies ever since. Edith is also heavily involved in St John Ambulance, a role that her daughters support her in, both emotionally and practically. Jessica and Amelia, for example, both help to deliver youth work activities when they can, and when they can’t attend sessions with their mum, they help her with the preparations for the session at the weekend. Talking about everything together also helps to take the burden off each other if things do get too much.

They describe it as using each other’s talents and interests, as working it out between them to make it happen, and as being reflective of a wider sense that they have ‘got each other’s backs. They describe themselves as a close-knit family who is intuitive about each other’s needs. They reflected that not only does volunteering together feel good, and represent a “constructive use of time”, it also “eaches you a way of living and learning” and has contributed to them being a “small family with big networks Enjoyment, they suggest, is key.

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