Pauline Fraser – From volunteer to staff member
After a career in the private sector, Pauline Fraser became our new Volunteer Development Officer in January 2020. As a life-long Hearts fan, Pauline was one of the first Hearts fans joining the ‘Big Hearts Supporters’ movement in February 2016. Her main role at Big Hearts is to oversee and develop our charity’s volunteering programme, which helps support over 800 vulnerable people every year.
How did you get involved with Big Hearts?
I have been a Big Hearts Volunteer for many years – since the first Big Hearts Day in 2016. After I was made redundant at the end of 2019, I decided to look for a new challenge. When I saw the charity was looking for a new staff, it made sense to me to apply!
What are your responsibilities in the staff team?
As Big Hearts’ Volunteer Development Officer I’m in charge of managing the group of volunteers involved in our activity, from weekly projects like Football Memories, to match day events and partnerships with local charities. It’s nice to get to know volunteers better and help them in their journey supporting people through the charity.
How is everything so far?
I’ve started working in the office a month ago and I’m really enjoying it! It’s very different from my previous job: less stressful and more varied. Everybody in the Big Hearts team is so nice, we all get on well. It feels great to go to the Stadium to work every morning!
What was your first mission?
One of my first actions in the job was to recruit a new Charity Request volunteer, as the previous one has now joined the Big Hearts’ staff team! I enjoyed leading the interviews and hearing what the candidates would bring to the role. I found it difficult to decide who was the best candidate if I’m honest: everyone was really nice and had good reasons to use their time for a good cause. At the end, I think our new volunteer will be a great asset whilst getting the most out of the experience with Big Hearts.
What has been your highlight so far?
Without hesitation: Edinburgh and Football Memories. The attendees are lovely – they chat as if they’ve known you for years! I take my hat off to the group of volunteers who facilitate the sessions every week, they do so much to get everyone involved, organising music or quizzes. It’s heart-warming to witness. My uncle used to come to the sessions, so I had heard about it a lot. It’s totally different when you get to experience it yourself. The stories you hear are amazing and hilarious. It really is a wonderful project and I’m proud to be part of it.
What’s next for you in 2020?
Well, a lot of my friends and family have said they want to volunteer so I’m encouraging everyone to go on the Big Hearts’ website and sign-up! There’re many opportunities to choose from and more coming soon. I’m also looking forward to the 6th Kinship Family Day in October, the annual open day at Tynecastle Park welcoming hundreds of kinship care families from across Scotland. I will be involved in a different way this year, supervising the volunteers and I’m keen to do my bit to ensure the event is a real success!
Anything else you’d like to share?
Being involved behind the scenes means I can appreciate even more the incredible support delivered by Big Hearts. I’d like to help promote The Changing Room project, which supports men’s mental health. I’ve spread the word around me and hope that some Hearts fans will get in touch to attend.