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The impact of volunteers on Brendoncare clubs and care homes

Two Brendoncare community club volunteers working together to prepare tea for members at Gosport club.
Volunteers are essential to our work at Brendoncare and we could not achieve what we do without their involvement. Our volunteers make such a difference and put smiles on the faces of members and care home residents every day.

Our volunteers enable us to directly combat loneliness and provide enriching interactions for our members and residents.

1.4 million older people in the UK say that they are often lonely, and it has been shown that loneliness is associated with poorer mental and physical health. Amongst older people, loneliness is also associated with experiencing depression and even the development of Alzheimer’s.

A significant number of older people were still unfamiliar with the internet when the first lockdown was announced, and felt this impacted their loneliness during the pandemic. 

At Brendoncare, clubs had to close and care homes had to stop allowing visitors during Covid, resulting in members and residents feeling cut off from their friends and family. Our volunteers helped our members and care home residents stay connected to their loved ones during this time by providing help getting online, telephone support, and zoom activities.

Volunteers in the Brendoncare Community

Volunteers enable to us to keep our community clubs running smoothly. Without our volunteers, we wouldn’t be able to support the increasing number of members who attend our clubs.

Not only do our clubs volunteers help activities run smoothly, but they also provide support and socialise with the members.

Lorraine, Brendoncare community volunteer, explained why she became a volunteer: “I knew I wanted to help people, especially with the pandemic leaving many feeling vulnerable and isolated.”

“I would like to give back some of that ‘warm, fuzzy feeling’ to others… to let them know that they’re not alone and that others care about them.”

Jan, Brendoncare telephone support volunteer

We also have telephone support volunteers, who act as a valuable point of contact for members who are isolated and want contact for the community. They are there to support members and help them feel they are not alone.

Jan is a club member received telephone support during the pandemic. She has now decided that she would also like to support others and has become a telephone supporter herself.

Jan said: “I’ve been on the receiving end of telephone support for the last 18 months. Although I’m used to being on my own, this was a different scenario and I know how much these weekly calls have meant to me. Initially, a look-forward-to contact, a reliable, scheduled event during an uncertain time of scary ‘shielding’. Then, later, developing into more of a friendship, a weekly chat to discuss the happenings of both parties.

“I would like to give back some of that ‘warm, fuzzy feeling’ to others… to let them know that they’re not alone and that others care about them.”

Brendoncare Nature Clubs members smiling on Zoom

Zoom volunteers help organise and run activities over zoom as a part of our online clubs. Online clubs have been a great way for members to stay in contact remotely, especially in difficult times during the pandemic. For those who aren’t local to our clubs, or have unreliable transport, online clubs are still a great option to meet new people.

Volunteers in Care Homes

In our homes, we have a variety of volunteers who come in to support residents and build friendships. One of our volunteers at Brendoncare Otterbourne Hill, Sophia, comes in to play music to the residents. 

She said: I found playing the clarinet and piano to the residents most rewarding and I love to play because I can express my emotions through my music… I was particularly touched by one resident who seemed to enjoy it so much that he got up and started dancing, even following me to watch my next performance.”

Our care homes also benefit from digital connection volunteers, who visit our homes and help residents improve confidence in accessing their email, social media or even making a zoom call. These online volunteers aim to build and improve residents’ skills so they can comfortably connect with others online.

Volunteer Drivers

Our volunteer drivers play a vital part in helping members get to clubs. Without volunteer drivers, members who don’t have reliable transport might not be able to attend the clubs, which may be detrimental to their physical and mental wellbeing.

We spoke to some of our volunteer drivers in Gosport, Alan and Toni. They spoke about the importance of volunteer drivers and what’s great about being a volunteer driver.

If you are interested in volunteering for Brendoncare, you can find out more on our current opportunities page, or you can give us a call on 01962 857097 or email us at volunteering@brendoncare.org.uk.