I am Bernie and I have recently joined the office team at Paragon Music as a volunteer. Throughout this profile, I will be explaining how I got to be a volunteer and the kind of work that I carry out to assist the organisation.
In 2009, the opportunity came up for me to go along to a music and dance workshop, at the Tramway theatre, in Glasgow. It was Paragon Music’s M3 programme that I joined as a dancer, this gave me so many great opportunities such as performing in well-known theatres, across Scotland. I really enjoyed participating in the group for the five years that I was a member of M3 but I wanted to explore other avenues of what else I could do out with the dancing part of the programme.
A couple of years later, I was asked by the ‘Creative Director’ of Paragon Music – Ninian Perry if I was interested in social media as Ninian wanted to start getting accounts set up for M3. I took this point on-board and started to think of a way that would allow me to take on this duty. I found it a challenge as I had just left school and I was going to be starting college, this made me wonder if I could do this task. I started my college course shorty after this and by luck, the course offered me some work experience once a week, at a workplace of my choice… I picked Paragon Music!
I spent two years on work placement with the organisation. I carried out a range of tasks which included creating and running social media accounts for M3, creating presentations and writing articles, to explain what Paragon Music is about. I gained so much great work experience by getting the opportunity to come here.
On completion of the college course in 2014, it was time for me to decide what it was that I wanted to do next. As I really enjoy ‘computing’, I was really keen to go and study a full time computing course, at college and this is exactly what I done. However this meant that I had to give up some activities, that I done in my spare time, in order to take on the full time computing course. Unfortunately I couldn’t attend M3 and reduce my social media duties for Paragon Music as I just didn’t have any free time.
I went on to study an ‘Admin, Business & Computing’ course which gave me a wide range of tasks, all relating to the three main topics. I thought that this was great as it allowed me to try out different things, I got a real chance to find out what it was that I wanted to do when it came to moving onto my next college course…it was of course computing!
In 2016, when I was due to leave college, I was asked if I wanted to go further with my education. After I spent a lot of time thinking about it, I decided that I wanted to try something new because I couldn’t go any higher with the course that I had just completed. I decided that I wanted to use the new skills that I learned by going back to volunteer for Paragon Music.
I am now a volunteer with Paragon Music, my title is Digital Development Assistant. I started in April 2017 by going into their office, on a weekly basis. My main duty is to manage the organisation’s social media platforms – posting regular updates about any new information from Paragon, uploading pictures from workshops, responding to any enquires and announce new upcoming events. I also do graphic design where I create posters for events and I can take pictures, at Paragon’s workshop -using the camera on my speech device. Some of the other work that I do in the office includes- assisting the other members of staff with specific tasks, that relates to what I am able to do. For example helping to organise events etc.
Out with the time that I spend in the office, I fundraise at local events for Paragon too. There is an annual event, in my area called ‘Bungo in the back lanes’ which is a festival and all the people in my street, have stalls and sell goods. I decided that I wanted to have a stall and raise funds while providing the public with information of what we do at Paragon Music. I have raised over £100 by doing this event, these past two years. In the past, any fundraising events that are held by Paragon, I have taken on challenges to raise my own funds to give to the organisation such as ’50 dances, in 50 days’ and creating an mini art collage live at a event, with all proceeds raised going to Paragon.
As a Digital Development Assistant with Paragon Music, I’m very happy that I am doing the kind of work that I set out to do but not only that, I’m pleased that I am able to give the organisation something back as they have helped me a lot since I started the M3 programme. I have gained so much already about working in an office and getting to know how much work goes on in the background to make sure that all Paragon’s work runs smoothly. My aim is to continue to volunteer for Paragon and help out with fundraising activities. Thank you to all the staff for giving me this great opportunity.