'Seeing the girls thrive is incredibly rewarding'

A hospital consultant who leads a girl guide group in her spare time says it is "incredibly rewarding".

Dr Jodie Sabin, from Stroud, Gloucestershire, is one of Girlguiding's "flexible volunteers", who juggles sessions alongside the demands of her career and parental responsibilities.

Speaking ahead of the 40th National Volunteers Week, Dr Sabin, 38, said: “Being part of Girlguiding makes me feel like I am part of a huge extended family, and seeing the girls thrive is incredibly rewarding.”

“It kept me going through the monotony of maternity leave," she added.

With almost 80,000 volunteers, Girlguiding has one of the largest volunteer networks in the UK.

Many of its volunteers find flexible ways to support its 300,000 young members.

While Dr Sabin was training to become a doctor, she was accustomed to anti-social hours, long shifts and 48-hour working weeks.

But she said she was "welcomed with open arms" to the organisation.

"It was never an issue for anyone that I couldn't be there every week," she added.

Dr Sabin explained "so much" of her life changed when she had her first child Elliot, two years ago and guiding remained her "one constant".

At the time, Dr Sabin was leading her guide unit solo, so the whole group took a six-week break shortly before she gave birth.

The unit resumed when Dr Sabin returned, with her newborn son in tow.

Her husband Rob signed up as a unit helper for six months so he could help look after their son while she led the sessions.

Dr Sabin said she believes many people might not realise flexible volunteering is an option at Girlguiding.

National Volunteers' Week runs until 9 June.

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