Its often the way that people don’t always see their own achievements or skills as being something very remarkable, often we do things simply because it is our job, volunteering or hobby, and it is what we do day in day out and we don’t always really think about how big a deal it can be for people affected.

As a manager I try very hard to make sure that I don’t take the actions of our volunteer drivers in particular, but also the team here, for granted but sometimes even I don’t always see the true scale of what they achieve until someone outside of the organisation speaks up let us know how it impacted on them.

On Friday afternoons here in the office we usually are working on journeys for the following Monday to make sure that when we leave the office for the weekend we know that, unless something dramatic happens, everything is more or less taken care of when we come in on Monday morning. There are always last minute complications if a driver is poorly, or their car breaks down and if we don’t keep enough of a breathing space it can be really challenging to adapt to these problems without it causing knock on effects. Last Friday afternoon, when we were in this frame of mind, one of the charities with whom we work quite frequently got in touch to ask if they could make some changes to a booking they had with our drivers for Friday evening for a group of young people to attend the theatre in Plymouth. The team here immediately set about arranging the additional transport and notifying the drivers we had already arranged of the changes. The theatre trip involved a number of drivers picking up from all over Cornwall, and meant that the drivers themselves would not be getting home until the early hours of Saturday morning and so the drivers could have been forgiven for being less than keen on a change to their plans.

The drivers, every single one of them, were happy to handle all the changes we asked of them and my team here thought so little about the difficulties that the changes presented that they didn’t even tell me about it until prompted to do by an email we received this morning. After all, as one of the team told me, “It is what we do” when I asked them about it.

The email we received was just to thank the team here for sorting out all the late notice changes, but particularly the drivers who “were fab and ensured the young carers were dropped and collected with excellent communication with myself and made the carers feel so much more comfortable”. Getting feedback like that can make you think about how much of an impact your work can have, I don’t pretend that we are any different to workplaces, charities and community groups all over the place, underestimating the value of your own work is almost one of those ‘British Values’ that politicians of all stripes like to play up isn’t it?

Every day our volunteer drivers are making hundreds of lives ever so slightly better whether it is helping young people visit the theatre, go to outdoor activities or surfing lessons, helping older people meet their friends or get to important appointments that they would otherwise struggle to attend. Taken together their volunteering improves life in Cornwall for a huge amount of people but knowing the drivers I suspect that most of them would just say “Its what we do” and would say that all they did was give someone a lift. I also know that each one of those drivers will have had a little smile to themselves when they saw the feedback we received, it’s human nature isn’t it. If you can, tell someone how much of a difference they have made, by doing so in turn you will make a real difference to them.