This week marks Volunteers’ Week, a chance to recognise the amazing contribution that volunteers make to local communities. To mark the occasion, I spoke to a few of our employees about their experiences of volunteering for various charities.

Aerobility has been one of NATS’ corporate charity partners since 2012. Aerobility changes lives by providing access to aviation for anyone with a disability. They take to the skies with up to 1000 individuals a year, 30% of whom are wounded, injured or sick Serving and Veteran members of the British Armed Forces. Read more about what Brian Wheeler, Deputy General Manager, had to say about his experience volunteering for Aerobility:

“I have been a volunteer with Aerobility for a few years now as a well as a trustee of the charity for the last two years.

Following a life-changing injury in May 2018, which left me paralysed and uncertain as to whether I would ever walk again, I had a lot of time to think about my life. I decided that I wanted to give something back – cliched maybe but having met countless inspirational people living with a disability, it just felt like a natural thing to do.

I was obviously aware of Aerobility through working at NATS, and had already volunteered at a couple of events, selling merchandise and providing information about the charity to members of the public who visited the stand. Bizarrely, it was whilst I was on the physiotherapy table at Oaksey House Rehabilitation Centre in Lambourn where I started chatting to another patient about flying and his passion for it. I mentioned Aerobility and he had not only heard of them, he was learning to fly with them! We are now trustees together.

Being a trustee is immensely rewarding. From working with the team, to attending board meetings where we decide the future strategy of the charity to rolling up my sleeves to set up the ballroom at the Sofitel London Heathrow ahead of their annual fundraiser, the Aviators Ball. In the last year, we have moved a lot of our work online and even delivered the world’s first virtual airshow, which was a huge success. However, I think we are all very much looking forward to being able to do the ‘real thing’ again very soon.

I would say to anyone thinking about volunteering that the key thing is to find a charity or organisation that is close to your heart. I promise you will never look back. It is truly one of the most rewarding things you can do.”

Find out more about Aerobility on their website.


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