I opened up my email this morning, and in there was a message containing a link, username and password to get onto the Stroke Association's "volunteer" intranet.
I'm hopeful that this site will contain some useful resources, although I must admit to having some reservations, in particular about being a part of a much larger organisation. You see, I spent my whole working life, almost, as an outsider, running my one-man-band and essentially parachuting in somewhere just to help out. So, I'm used to being independent.
Also, it made me focus - just how involved do I want to be with the Stroke Association? Certainly, I was unimpressed with the absense of any public comments in the wake of redundancies following recent local council cuts. I felt that they could have used the national media, at least, to mention this. (In their defence, I'm probably over-estimating the amount of clout they'd have in any case.) So I'm not sure that I could be guaranteed to be "on message" with them. It sometimes grates when people talk about the "wonderful" health service, and I just think "well, it wasn't particularly wonderful for me". And certainly, I've found other stroke charities which, I think, are more tuned in to my views, since I discovered the Stroke Association. I do tink with stroke, we're also talking about health service priorities, i.e. politics, and we're sometimes justified in being critical.
But I suppose, if we let the politics get to us, we'd all have stopped volunteering a long time ago, what with one thing or another.