Aspire: Case Studies


Mary is a volunteer and Supporting Sister at Aspire;  she is a member of Aspire's fundraising group and is also a credit union organiser.

She said that Aspire had provided her with brilliant opportunities and thinks the credit union in particular is amazing as it allows vulnerable women to save as little or as much as they can/want from just £1.

Mary is especially complementary of the training to be a Supporting Sister “it was the most intense, complex and perfect bundle of education I have ever experienced. I thoroughly enjoyed all 20 weeks of the Supporting Sisters training and feel I am continually supported now I am finished.”


I have been a proud volunteer at Aspire since August 2017 and qualified as a Supporting Sister in April 2018. Until redundancy in April 2017 I was working as a Sales and Marketing manager in the corporate world and living in Bristol. I had always wanted to volunteer but never had time whilst working, so this was my opportunity. I wasn’t sure where I wanted to volunteer but I knew I wanted to work with people and felt I had something to offer a charity or community project. A friend of mine who works for Durham County Council mentioned Aspire to me and I had seen an advert for the project in a local magazine, so I contacted the project and was told about the Supporting Sisters. After attending the Thursday drop-ins I enrolled on a couple of courses including the “be a better listener” training. I had never known such a warm, supportive, positive atmosphere, it is an amazing project and I’m proud to be part of it.

There are many great things about being a Supporting Sister. The chance to help other women and have a positive influence on a daily basis is fantastic. The support, friendship and camaraderie of the volunteer team and staff is amazing. There is always someone to offer a friendly word and make you smile. I find myself feeling proud of what we do and achieve daily, a big highlight was attending the 2018 Learning Awards when we won both the “unsung hero” and “overall festival” awards. My proudest personal achievement was supporting a listening client through a very difficult time, helping her to think through her situation and make some decisions which resulted in her and her daughter finding a safe place to live.