Barbara Anne, Volunteer at Darell Jeffreys House, Bedford

We often refer to volunteers as ‘the lifeblood of Abbeyfield’ and when you meet people like Barbara, it’s easy to see why. Having volunteered with Abbeyfield for 36 years, we caught up with Barbara to find out about her role.

“I used to live next door but one to Darell Jeffreys House and knew Dr Jeffreys very well. I became a volunteer when he died and left his house to Abbeyfield.

“Our local church used to send Darrell Jeffrey’s House donations but instead of using the money our house keeper at the time sent it back and suggested they start their own Abbeyfield, so they did! And very successful it was too. Today we’ve merged into one large house. I started off as a volunteer, helping out when staff members were on holiday. I’d bring my little Cocker Spaniel and she would sit with the residents whilst I’d get on with my daily tasks. It was a wonderful time, full of community and companionship. 

“I had started a residents group in our local area and through my connections encouraged many people to volunteer at Darell Jeffreys House. We used to have ladies coming in to make the teas and cakes, another would come in to just have a chat with residents – everyone in their own way made a positive impact on life at the house.

“Today I come in to the house every week for lunch and to catch up with the residents, who really I count as my friends, and I often run fundraising events and tend the garden. They certainly keep me busy.

“The best thing about Abbeyfield is meeting lots of different people all the time. The house is warm, the food is good and most importantly there is companionship for older people.

“I would encourage people of all ages to volunteer with Abbeyfield, not only do the residents get something form your help, but you do to – you get back what you put in.

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