As I enter my 4th week in my new role as VIVA coordinator in the head office, I’ve realised that it’s one of several fresh starts I have had in my life; and that most of us have many fresh starts and changes in life, which has prompted my thoughts and feelings on the matter. We adjust to new jobs, new relationships, new homes, lifestyles and our personal lives change as we get older, In fact, chances are we will go through several changes in our lives, some drastic and some minor that we will adapt to. However, people, by nature, do tend to resent change and resist it strongly; it could be a fear of the unknown, a desire for the old way, a concern about our abilities, or anger and stress that the change has been thrust upon us - sometimes unexpectedly. I believe I have become quite good at adapting to changes in my circumstances. I enjoy a variety of challenges and trying something new, seeing each different aspect as an adventure. I like having responsibilities, expanding my skills and expertise so I can enhance the services we offer. I am now embarking on both my 6th (as a VIVA Coordinator) and 7th new position (as a Stroke Befriender Coordinator) with Volunteer Cornwall, the latter not officially starting for another few weeks. While no two jobs I’ve ever had have been the same, the core requirements of my role don’t change. I appreciate that there are inevitably new processes and procedures that I need to take in and adhere to – and it also takes time to build good relationships with new contacts and develop new networks. However, I feel very lucky, as I have great colleagues to work with, and I don’t anticipate it taking very long before I’m fully up to speed and making a positive contribution and settling in and feeling at home. For some people, making transitions can be a lot more difficult due to the related increase in stress levels. Changes can make us feel uncomfortable in some way, the uncertainty creates worries, and we can have a feeling of a loss of control. Even when you know what the changes are and when they will happen, it is still a bit of an unknown. There are books, qualifications, therapists, specialist companies and a bizarre array of literature on the subject of managing change, each providing different techniques and tips on the best way to adapt to a change. There is also lots of evidence that most of us go through a certain process when dealing with change, however some stages of this process can take longer than others and can have more of an impact for different people. I think it can sometimes take a lot of effort, courage and confidence to adapt to change or start new things, but importantly it takes time, and this will vary depending on each unique set of circumstances. People will naturally find ways to solve their problems and do things in new and different ways when they’re presented with challenges, and I think with each one we can become a little bit more able to cope with the next. New volunteers starting their role on their first day could be adapting to a change in their routine and many existing volunteers will be told of changes to the charity they work for; this may be due to funding cuts, a move in direction or implementing new technology. In previous roles I have engaged those key volunteers who perhaps have a little influence over others, and have worked with them and persuaded them to support the change and help me to present it to more resistant volunteers in a positive way. When a charity decided to introduce epos tills (being both touch screen and code scanning) in the shop I managed I thought I was going to have a mutiny. With careful planning, and use of the more outspoken and delightfully funny volunteers, allowing each volunteer to set their own pace, we were up and running smoothly in time for the Christmas rush. Whenever there is a change it’s important to listen to the volunteers concerns and get their feedback to ensure they feel part of the process to the changes being made, and to provide frequent reassurance and good communication at each step. ‘Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.’ A serenity prayer: Reinhold Niebuhr (1892–1971)