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Work/Life Balance 1

Fun, despite an early Sunday start!

There is something appealing about lie-in, especially if you haven't had one for ages. So when I crawled out of bed at 7.30am on a recent Sunday, I wasn't in the best of moods.

Two hours later, I was negotiating the intricacies of Walthamstow's Little Holland – thereby lies another tale or potential rant – and rushing to get a car full of people's unwanted gifts, old clothes, toys, books, videos, CDs, and other bric-a-brac to the Orford Road Club, E17 for a 10.00am start. That's when the fun really began.

Volunteering for the Samaritans is many things and I suspect you may not have expected to hear "fun" as an adjective describing it. But just imagine a situation where you meet the most diverse group of people - all generations, creeds, colours, genders, sexualities and life experiences – and you're all there by choice and giving your time to do something because you want to. I don't think any of us are sales people by nature, but there is fun in trying to persuade someone to part with 50p for a fluffy grey toilet seat cover or a stuffed toy that looks like an unlikely cross between a weasel and a seal.

I suppose the point is that you can find fun even in what is essentially work. And, as HR consultants, we believe very strongly that we should support means by which employees can experience a healthy work/life balance. And, also, work/life balance doesn't have to mean veering between work and collapsing on the sofa to watch a box set of Game of Thrones, or work and a mammoth shopping expedition, or work and a glass of wine or two with friends. Doing something different with people you perhaps wouldn't meet at your place of work or in your social circle, is just as valuable, rewarding, and "fun".

And, since each Samaritans branch is self-funding, the Samaritans of Waltham Forest need to find money to pay rent, council tax, phone charges (obviously!), running costs, etc., so we have an annual target of around £20,000 to find via our various fund raising activities. The annual jumble sale not only raises funds, but also enables you to declutter your home, challenges us to develop cunning sales strategies for these unwanted items, and keep on supporting our callers as we go.

Not only did we have immense fun for a few hours, but we made £500 profit on the day!