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'I was then given the name of PARCA'

My name is Karen Kirk, I am 62 years old, I am English and have lived in various parts of England through my life, from the age of about 2 years old I lived in a children's home and was then brought up in foster care. I have two grown-up children and three grandsons, we all live in different parts of England so do not see them as much as I would like, I believe that all these things make me the caring person I am.

The age I am now comes with various medical problems which make it difficult for me to find a full-time job, the job center suggested that I try some volunteering. I have done some volunteering before at the city college, this volunteering meant that I was able to help people whose first language was not English also people with different disabilities. I was then given the name of PARCA. This was of great interest to me, but I was not sure what I could do to help.

I applied for a volunteering position, and I was taken on, I was a little apprehensive at first but all the people there are very nice and welcoming. This was very helpful to me as I have suffered from depression and anxiety for a number of years. I agreed to two sessions a week, 2 hours on Monday and two hours on a Friday.

Monday, I help with ESOL class, finding this very interesting especially meeting people from lots of different countries and even though I do not speak any other languages myself, still find that I can be of help.

Friday morning, I help to set up breakfast then I set up a table where I teach knitting and crocheting to anyone that is interested.

I have found PARCA to be a wonderful place and I just hope that I am giving as much help to them as they have given to me.

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