Volunteer role: Branch Chair, North Somerset Branch

'I feel more confident in myself and able to be more open with talking to members of the public.' Ben, autistic man and Branch Chair, North Somerset Branch

Ben (dressed as the Pink Panther above!) has Asperger syndrome and has volunteered for nine years at his local branch. 

How did you first hear about volunteering with us?

Originally it was through my local Volunteer Action Group. I've been Branch Chair for the North Somerset Branch for four years and a member of the National Autistic Society's Council prior to it changing to a Forum for over two years. 

What is your motivation for volunteering with us?

Being on the spectrum myself with Asperger syndrome and wanting to help and support my fellow peers in my region. 

What has been your most enjoyable moment volunteering?

Being able to take part in cycle events like Ride London 2018 and raise over £1,000 for the charity.

Two years in a row in World Autism Awareness Week, I’ve appeared in my local high street in my Pink Panther costume to collect donations and raise awareness of autism. I've appeared in local newspapers regularly to promote the fundraising events and have been interviewed by BBC Radio Bristol. After that, I had people who had heard the interview approach me on the day to donate. Christmas 2018, I was also on the Weston Grand Pier with a reindeer hat on, collecting further donations.

How has volunteering made a difference to your life?

I feel more confident in myself and able to be more open with talking to members of the public.

Would you recommend volunteering at our charity to someone else?

Yes definitely, especially as my Branch is seriously in need of more volunteers.

How will volunteering help your future?

It will continue to help me to talk with people about my condition and help other people to understand autism and make the place a safer place to be for people like me. I hope also in the future I’ll be able to increase my confidence further to do more talks to groups around the county and get more support from other areas. I’d like to do more cycle events and have offered other Branches my LEGS-4-HIRE scheme where a Branch can pick a cycling event and then they raise all the funds towards that event and I take part in that event on their behalf and they then keep the funds raised. I'd also like to help with lobbying at Parliament in campaigns for issues like legal aid for people on the spectrum.

Thank you Ben, and all our volunteers, who offer so many opportunities.

We need more people like Ben to help us continue to support autistic people and their families.

Current opportunities in North Somerset

Committee Members - North Somerset

Fundraising Volunteer - North Somerset Branch

Register to volunteer with us