I retired at Christmas 2019 and started volunteering with Aspire in January. Aspire runs a network for communities over 55 years old living in Kirklees. We usually run group sessions for 10-15 people, but with the groups unable to meet because of Covid we have been offering 1-2-1 support including chats on the phone or doorstep. I am meeting less people but have more communication with the beneficiaries that I am connected with. I make 6 phone calls every fortnight. I have also delivered 6 craft bags once a month for over a year, so that’s approx. 80 craft bags! The bags might include books, word searches colouring etc and our newsletter, then themed crafts such as felting, pottery, health and beauty pamper packs and people choose which themed craft bag they would like. All the instructions and materials for the craft activity are included. Clients send photos of what they have made, and these are included in our newsletter.
What have you found rewarding or memorable about your experience?
I am meeting less people but have more communication with the beneficiaries I am connected with. I also have a chat to members on their doorstep when I deliver the bags and they have become like friends. It’s lovely, I’ve always liked meeting people and chatting and listening to them, I was a counsellor for years. It is so important for people who are isolated to have someone who is interested in them. I have worked all my life and volunteering gives me a sense of purpose and being useful, having a role and identity. It gives me something to think about and look outside of myself which is good for my mental health. I am looking forward to being able to meet up at the groups again, some of the ladies will feel cautious at first, but it will be lovely to finally get together indoors.
Find out more
To find out more about Aspire Creating Communities please visit: https://www.aspirecreatingcommunities.org.uk/