Volunteers Week 2021: Thines Ganeshamoorthy on using his voice to change the future for disabled people

Volunteering since he was a teenager, Thines Ganeshamoorthy credits his experience of giving back to the local community and charities for helping to find his voice and transition into his dream career.

At the age of 16, Thines Ganeshamoorthy started volunteering. To this day, Thines continues to reap the rewards that come from volunteering. 

Having donated his time across regional and national organisations, Thines ­­­– who now works as a policy official at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) – has had the opportunity to advance his skillset and experience to land a position in his chosen field of work.

CAREER

“I can use all the skills I built, my lived experience, combined with the gained knowledge of working collaboratively with large organisations on their ideologies: It has been so beneficial in the working world,” Thines says proudly. 

As a member on the prestigious Civil Service Fast Stream Graduate Program, throughout his career Thines has been able to share his experiences as a disabled person and how the UK workforce can be adapted to better support the disabled community.

However, prior to volunteering, Thines was not as forthcoming. 

CONFIDENCE

Thines remembers: “Prior to volunteering, I was very shy, retiring, not very confident and didn’t really feel I had anything valuable to add to society. I always felt like quite a bit of a drain. 

“I have a physical disability that can be debilitating, I spent a lot of time out of school and not with peers, so I was very meek and retiring.”

After finding volunteering, Thines, like many before him, started to see a change in himself and began to recognise the exceptional skills and dedication he can bring to an organisation.

“Volunteering and the kind of opportunities I was given to do it really built up my confidence; I could present and what I had to say mattered,” enthuses Thines. “I was given the chance to influence change in a really positive way.”

It is experiences such as Thines’ that are celebrated during the annual Volunteers Week 2021. Taking place throughout this week (1 to 7 June), Volunteers Week is a celebration of the excellent contributions of millions of people.

During an exceptionally challenging time, volunteers have been a saving grace for many people, making a different to the lives of others. And Thines is no different.

EQUALITY

After coming across Leonard Cheshire, Thines applied to become a disability equality speaker – a role which he could complete remotely.

“I knew Leonard Cheshire were leaders in the disability and equality space,” emphasises Thines. 

“I’ve run a couple of sessions so far, with people with learning disabilities to increase their awareness of other disabilities, empowering them to feel confident that their disability won’t be a limitation to them finding employment. Also, a group of non-disabled university students looking for ways to increase accessibility of events.”

Outside of work and volunteering, Thines is also a passionate and dedicated disability and welfare advocate. Volunteering alongside Leonard Cheshire as a disability equality speaker since October 2020, Thines has had the opportunity to not only find his voice, but use it to help facilitate change.

YOUR VOICE

Thines enthuses: “A lot of the charities I have had the pleasure of working with don’t only benefit from you sharing your wisdom, the charity is there to support you to develop and grow. 

“I am so grateful to all the organisations and charities I have worked with over the last 10-years. they have all invested time and effort in me to help me develop the skills I wanted to work on, leading me into the career path that I wanted to get onto. 

I am also using my voice to change the future for disabled people. The more individuals that get involved and share their voice and learn that they matter – which you do – the more we can amplify and use our shared voices to influence the change that is needed to make society inclusive to those who have it the most difficult.”

For more volunteering opportunities with Leonard Cheshire visit their website here