Volunteer Awards 2019 – Stewart Bolton

Zoe OKill
Author's position
RVA Community Journalist
Article date
31 May 2019
Primary interest
How long have you been volunteering with Caversham and District Residents Association (CADRA) and what do you for them?

I’ve just retired as treasurer and committee member after 25 years. If you think, there are 12 meetings a year, that’s 300 committee meetings I’ve been to over the 25 years.

I basically keep records and produce the annual accounts. I bank cheques, pay the bills, attend meetings. I make sure there are adequate funds to deal with whatever is suggested or proposed. I take on the role of an accountant, as I myself am a retired chartered accountant. It’s the boring part of the job if you like, I keep everything going.

What made you start volunteering?

A lot of these organisations would struggle to continue. I’m a professional accountant and it’s quite difficult to get people to volunteer as treasurer because of the chore of going to the bank on a regular basis to bank cheques and so on. 

Zoe: Do you enjoy the fact that even though you’ve been an accountant for so long you still get to carry it on further in volunteering?

Yes! You may regard this as sad but if you do a nice spreadsheet it’s a work of art. Not everybody feels that way. I have no artistic or musical talent whatsoever. We all have different gifts and limitations. I try to make the most of what I have got.

What difference do you feel your volunteering makes?

It keeps the organisation running smoothly. The financial side is managed. I contribute in committee meetings in a more general sense the same way as any other committee member does. It’s all part of the team that makes things like CADRA work.

What do you feel you get out of your volunteering?

There is a sense of involvement in the community, it’s nice to feel part of a community. It’s a bit like giving to charity, you get a warm glow as it were from being able to do it. The fact you can contribute and help is a nice thing. Obviously, you meet a lot of people over the years, I mean I’ve had five different chairmen at CADRA in the past 25 years.

What word or phrase best describes your feelings about volunteering?

I think it’s nice to be able to contribute. I’ve always been very lucky in my life, I’m a golden generation, I missed the war, I missed national service, I made a fortune on my house, a fortune on my pensions. I think it’s nice to give something back and rewarding to contribute something to society. I don’t have many skills, but one of my skills is accounting so it was sensible to be able to use that skill to help.

I would encourage other people to volunteer. Apathy is the greatest enemy of volunteer organisations. People will get a lot of reward from actually participating. Everybody is different and everybody has different talents but there’s always a space for whatever talent you’ve got within volunteering.