The impact of volunteers
You only have to see the smiles of residents/club members to understand the significant role volunteers play in people’s lives. Think what it’s like for you when someone outside of your normal circle takes the trouble to focus on you - you feel important, special and valued. It is no different for our residents and club members.
In one of our homes, a lady who had not spoken or smiled following a stroke several years before, started slowly to respond to the volunteer who popped in and talked to her for 20-30 minutes once a week. No response was expected, she’d been told that it was not personal but that Brenda (not her real name) did not respond to anyone. Imagine the surprise and delight when slowly a smile started to develop on Brenda’s face when she walked in the room. Now staff also benefit from that smile.
Club helpers and leaders regularly get told by their members that if it wasn’t for the club, they would not speak to anyone from one week to the next! Brendoncare Clubs make a huge difference to the social life of people across Hampshire and in south Dorset and Poole. People, lonely and isolated from their local community, can now have an afternoon out, the chance to meet and talk to people of their own age, have a go at a new activity or game, learn something from a specialist speaker. These clubs make a real difference in people’s lives and they are all run by volunteers.
In the care homes, our volunteers often work with the activities coordinators encouraging residents to be active in some way. Quizzes are popular, as are crosswords, crafts and puzzles. Volunteers mean more residents can be involved in each session.
An art class, run by a volunteer with a prestigious talent, is popular in one home. Some residents gain a sense of relaxation from this, for others it is a triumph in concentration. Either way, it is an achievement, as is the sense of pleasure or disappointment over the finished article. It is also something else to talk about.
In another home a volunteer uses her skills to give residents hand massages and manicures. Several grandmothers of the bride or groom have waved and shaken hands happily thanks to a volunteer’s care and commitment. The gentlemen are not forgotten, they also get their hands massaged and nails shaped and they gain as much pleasure from this as the ladies. No matter your age, presentation is important and when someone helps you in a practical way like this there is a real sense of being valued.
What ALL the volunteers tell you is that they get far more out of it than they put in!