Heather - Young Volunteer

Importance of Volunteers in Making Time for Older People

‘Making time for older people’ is key to our ethos and we recognise that our volunteers are invaluable in helping us to achieve this.

Like many of our homes, Abbeyfield House in Strathaven, Scotland has a fantastic approach to volunteering. In a recent quality assessment it was commented that:

young volunteers at abbeyfield strathaven

“Staff and Committee members describe a very coherent and vibrant picture of volunteering with healthy recruitment, high morale and innovative ways in which volunteers are recognised and rewarded for their contributions.”

Speaking with Sharon, the House Manager, she is proud of the strong Abbeyfield reputation in the community. She knows the importance of maintaining local support for the residents and how this benefits volunteer recruitment and retention.

One young volunteer, Heather, approached the house for a volunteering opportunity so that she could gain a true insight into health and social care. She was applying to do medicine at university and recognised that she needed a broader understanding of the demands.

“I didn’t have a lot of contact with older people. We live with an aging population and it is a big focus for the NHS. I wanted to spend time getting to know the Abbeyfield residents and understanding their needs.”

Heather was coming to the house every Tuesday after school to chat to the residents and make them tea. But she describes it as being so much more than that, it is much more satisfying.

“Over time, the residents have got to know me and they are comfortable with me. They enjoy telling me stories of the past and discussing how things have changed.”

We are delighted to hear that recently Heather has been taken on as a member of staff.

She was approached by Sharon to see if she wanted to join the team for a weekend shift that opened up due to maternity leave. The beautiful relationship Heather had with the residents and staff was obvious and Sharon describes how she was a clear choice.

“She doesn’t just come on board as a part time job. She is known to us and is part of our community. She is such a lovely young girl and it has worked out fabulously.”

Moving from volunteer to member of staff is not the intended outcome of volunteering but it clearly demonstrates the wonderful sense of community that operates in our homes.

We are proud of our supportive communities that mentor and encourage our volunteers and thank everyone who dedicate their own time to provide support and friendship to those who have chosen to live with us.


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