Volunteers’ Week is an annual event from 1-7 June to recognise the huge contributions volunteers make to charities across the UK.
Here at Contact the Elderly it’s no understatement that our volunteers are absolutely vital to our work, as without them we would not be able to function.
Cliff Rich, Acting CEO of Contact the Elderly, says just how important volunteers are to Contact the Elderly.
‘‘I have worked in the voluntary sector for many years, but it is through my time at Contact the Elderly that I have seen first hand just how much of a profound impact volunteers can have on the people they help.
Our tea parties are much more than tea and cake; they give isolated older people the human interaction that they miss. A simple offer of friendship is enough to let someone know they are not alone and they have friends they will see every month, twelve months a year. As much as we focus on the wellbeing of our older guests as our beneficiaries, we equally value our volunteers and recognise how vital they are to our service.
Research from our latest Impact Report revealed how much our volunteers enjoy being part of Contact the Elderly. 92% of volunteers feel they are giving something back to their community and 89% feel happier as a result of being involved. As we now have over 10,000 volunteers across England, Scotland and Wales we are proud that the tea parties add something special to their lives too.
Volunteering is a great way to give back to your community, make friends and learn new skills. If you are interested in volunteering then there are several ways you can get involved with Contact the Elderly where you live.
Our volunteering opportunities can conveniently fit in around your busy lifestyle. For example, becoming a driver means a commitment of one Sunday afternoon a month and a tea party host is a commitment of once or twice a year.
Plus, we are always keen to hear from eager volunteers where we currently do not have any groups, to help us establish a presence in new communities.
I am lucky enough to have met many of our volunteers over the years and I am always touched to see such close bonds develop between our older guests and volunteers. Very often, volunteers do not know just how much of a profound difference they have made to our older guests.
One of my favourite quotes is from volunteer driver Jessie, who sums up the most important elements of our tea parties: company, conversation and cake.’’
‘‘It's been amazing to see the elderly guests get out of the house and be in the company of a group of people, enjoying some conversation. I find volunteering for Contact the Elderly very enjoyable, so it doesn't feel like I am going out of my way to help people. It has given me the opportunity to meet some lovely people, who have great life stories, all while I get to enjoy eating some cake, too!’’ Jessie.