Darren’s volunteering story – Humankind

Darren’s volunteering story

After teaching dance classes at Humankind's 5 Ways Recovery Academy in Leeds and noticing the difference he was making to people's lives, Darren was inspired to become a Trainee Recovery Coordinator at Forward Leeds.

Name: Darren Murphy

Started volunteering with Humankind: 2021

Volunteer role: Trainee Recovery Coordinator

Full-time role: Recovery Coordinator

Darren is a professional dancer and started teaching dance classes to members of our 5 Ways Recovery Academy in Leeds during 2020.

From the moment he started facilitating these classes, Darren could immediately see the difference he was making: “the improvement I saw within people was unreal, you can’t put price on that!”

Darren had previously volunteered as a Peer Mentor in a prison and in 2021 decided to join another organisation as a volunteer providing support to the children of families accessing their services. “I was passionate about recovery and helping others and wanted to guide people,” he said.

Darren loved his volunteering roles so much that he decided he wanted to explore even more opportunities, telling us, “I wanted to see what more I could do and explore and understand the service.”

While still teaching dance classes at 5 Ways in Leeds, he began also volunteering there, pairing up with a Recovery Champion.

At this point, Darren knew that being a Trainee Recovery Coordinator was the right next step for him.

Helen Mason, Lead Practitioner at 5 Ways, commented that, “Darren was a fabulous volunteer – you could see the potential to be a great Recovery Coordinator. Darren got on so well with everybody and was naturally delivering interventions through the dance classes.”

A Trainee Recovery Coordinator vacancy opened up at Forward Leeds – Humankind’s specialist drug and alcohol recovery service in Leeds – so Darren decided it was the right time to apply. His application was successful, and he began the role in September 2021.

When reflecting on his journey, Darren said, “Volunteering for me… it gave me the confidence without the pressure. It helped me grow as a person, know where my strengths lie and where there was room for improvement. I wouldn’t have understood the role and everything behind it without doing the volunteering first.”

When asked if he had any advice for others considering volunteering, Darren said, “Find an organisation you are interested in working for and then apply to be a volunteer. Jump in headfirst and try all aspects of the service that are open to you.

The good thing about volunteering is the flexibility and the avenues. Ask questions and bring ideas. Keep your options open and explore everything within the organisation you’ve chosen.”

Darren has since been successful in an application to move from being a Trainee to a Recovery Coordinator at Forward Leeds and starts this new role next month.

Visit our volunteers page to find out how you can get involved at Humankind.