Lynda has been running craft and quiz sessions at Castle Farm and the Grove for over a year now. The sessions are really popular and have become ‘craft and crack’ as well as craft and quiz sessions – a good opportunity for the residents to meet and socialise.
‘When I first started volunteering at Abbeyfield I asked what people would want. The residents said they wouldn’t mind doing some crafts. And so, because I used to be a Girl Guide, I brought the crafts along and adapted the activities for older people.
What I like volunteering at Abbeyfield is the mix of people. I was used to doing volunteering with children, so it took me a while to get used to older people and also people with a bit of memory loss. You get to adapt, and then once you get to know how people’s minds are working and how people are mobility wise you can adapt a craft and it works out ok.
The advice I would give to people who are thinking about volunteering is – think about what you have to offer, think about how what you can offer can be adapted for older people, and don’t be put off by coming out of your own comfort zone. My comfort zone was children, and I’ve come out of that comfort zone big time! It’s been a challenge for me, but it least it now means I can work with young, old and different abilities. Come out your comfort zone and challenge yourself!’.
Annabel had been volunteering for us at Castle Farm for the last few months. She started by helping to run the monthly Beetle Drive sessions, and she also now comes in to visit two of our residents one evening a week.
Annabel enjoys just having a chat and getting to know the residents better: “It’s a really nice thing to do because people can get lonely sometimes so it’s nice to have a visitor.”
Volunteering at Abbeyfield has helped Annabel improve her confidence; “ It’s is a really good opportunity to increase my confidence as I can be quite shy sometimes. It’s quite interesting having the opportunity to talk to people that I would not normally have the opportunity to talk to. It’s very interesting talking to older people.”
Annabel would definitely recommend volunteering to other young people: “I would say definitely sign up to volunteering as it is really benefits you, even if it’s just for a small amount of time, you can make a really big difference too.”
“Everyone at Abbeyfield is really warm and welcoming and it’s a really nice place. And the residents are very nice too!”
The 22nd May 2018 was a red-letter day for Anne Smith who is a member of our Grove House Committee. Anne received an invitation to celebrate Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales’s, 70th Birthday at Buckingham Palace. Along with members of other organisations of which he is a patron, Anne spent an unforgettable afternoon attending a Royal Garden Party. To make it even more of an occasion, it was Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex’s, first official engagement since her marriage to Prince Harry. ‘It was such a surprise and honour to be invited’ says Anne, who has volunteered with Abbeyfield since Oct 2000.
As well as sitting on The Grove House Committee, Anne is a regular visitor to the home, spending time with our residents whether joining in activities or, just as importantly, having a cup of tea and a chat.