From advice seeker to adviser – Sonia’s journey from volunteer to Connect advisor of 11 years with Help on Your Doorstep 

Sonia, a member of our Connect Team, tells us about her experience as an adviser in Islington with Help on Your Doorstep. 

Re-training for work in a new sector 

Before starting her role with Help on Your Doorstep, Sonia worked in the fitness industry. She used to dance and run fitness classes. When she encountered a back injury it meant her employment in the fitness sector was impacted greatly. “It was a challenging time but I decided to re-train so I could take my career in a new direction”, Sonia says.

Sonia enrolled and completed an Executive PA Diploma, and Legal Secretary Diploma from Pitman College. Despite investing a lot of time and money into retraining, like many, she found it difficult to secure a job in a new sector. Someone suggested to Sonia that she should contact Help on Your Doorstep for careers advice. She walked through the doors of the office and was greeted by John (Team Leader). John signposted Sonia to a careers advisor who she met with then and there to discuss an array of different career avenues for Sonia to consider pursuing.

“I came out of the Career Advisors office and caught up with John again. He suggested that I consider volunteering with Help on Your Doorstep to gain some experience in a different sector. I jumped at the opportunity”, Sonia continues.

Gaining experience through volunteering

Sonia started volunteering one day a week, this quickly increased to 3 days a week. She was supporting the Connect team to type up referrals and started to help out with giving clients call backs to see if the partners had been in contact to provide support. Sonia would discuss with clients about whether they were getting the support they needed and to identify what other support was still needed. Sonia started to get involved in more and more activities, she started to accompany advisors on home visits and doing community outreach so people knew about Help on Your Doorstep and the services we offer.

Joining the team and making a long-term difference

When an advisor role was advertised, Sonia applied. After demonstrating so much passion as a volunteer and after developing skills from working closely with staff, Sonia was appointed the role as an advisor. She started off on a job-sharing basis and this grew into her current full-time role. Sonia has been working with Help on Your Doorstep as an advisor since 2011.

“I’ve never come across an organisation that is so personal when working with clients. I love seeing how much trust the community has in Help on Your Doorstep. I love working with people from so many different walks of life and supporting them directly so they can overcome their problems. As an organisation we really make a difference and people appreciate our work. It’s incredibly humbling to be part of this work” Sonia says.

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