Voluntary Work

I’ve just had a couple of not particularly busy, but they have been Full days. This affected my intension of writing a post every day. Yesterday I contributed what was called an ‘Essay”, in a group chat I belong to on Messenger. There are 4 of us, the Cook and the 2 other volunteers that were helping in the Skegness lunch club. I never was any good at writing essays for English lessons at school but most of what I now write is based on memories. It was a story I was going to write at a later date so I was going to copy, edit and then publish my “essay” on this site. But it would appear that I can’t copy from Messenger, so I will have to reproduce it from memory, although that will make it more personal to this site.

It was about 3 years ago that I saw an advert in the councils magazine for TED (Talk, Eat, Drink) a lottery-funded project controlled by CommunityLincs. I was looking for other ways to fill in my time when the self-employment stopped working out the way hoped. The company I was working for went through a series of takeovers – the final one was by an American company. It already owned a number of similar companies, so it seemed a good fit. But it’s business plan meant it needed to keep on taking over other companies. But potential targets of a suitable size were reducing. So it eventually failed all the companies it owned stopped trading or went into administration. I will say more in a later post.

However, this is about my involvement in voluntary work. As stated in the previous paragraph, I had seen an advert for TED in the councils magazine. I wasn’t sure it would fit but I decided to learn more. I have difficulty meeting up with groups of new people although I’m usually OK on a one-to-one basis. TED was the banner attached to group meetings for people aged 50+ In their respective areas. CommunityLincs also had projects that they were trialing for Befriending and looking for Age friendly businesses. I was the most interested in the Befriending project, where I would meet people for one hour at the same time each week. Before I could be considered I needed to have a police check because of the potential people I would be working with.

But before I could get all the checks done, I lost my Father. This meant I had to help my Mother sort out her finances, This process was needed a few times with some of the companies involved. But perhaps the biggest problem she had was loneliness. Although she often told Dad off for getting in the way, the time had come where he was no longer getting under her feet. Dad had been going to Hone Football matches – Come on you Rams – Mum was going to see her Sister each week in hospital but she rarely went out on her own. I tried to get her interested in other groups but she didn’t go to any beyond the ones where I was with her. But she had a similar problem to me, in regards to group meetings. So I put going through the checking process, until I thought I could sort out her problems from Home – I live in Skegness, she lived in Derby. It still meant trips to.Derby but these usually only covered the weekend but She did come to visit me usually for a week usually ending just before she had a Doctors appointment.

After my checks had been done I went through the interview process for Befriending again but they didn’t have anybody suitable in the area so they asked if I would attend the TED meetings in the meantime. A lot of these weekly meetings seem to have as many volunteers as clients and I didn’t really know what my role was – I think it was basically to make sure the chat kept flowing, when there wasn’t a guest speaker but there were a lot of capable people filling that role. Whilst in that role I noticed an advert for Befriending with AgeUK in the lift at Barratt Court. I was allowed in the residential areas because I used to live in the block and still had friends (and customers) that lived there.

I responded to the advert but the person who came to see me was the person looking after Lunch Clubs for AgeUK. He started asking questions about me, experiences, etc. when he asked if I was like to work in the Kitchen or Front-of-house. I replied that I had actually applied following seeing a Befriending advert. He said he didn’t know anything about that role but we decided to continue talking about the lunch clubs. I said I thought the kitchen would be a better fit because of my problem fitting in with groups of new people and I could cook. Although my cooking experience is limited to Meat and 2 Veg although that experience was limited to 7 people, although I had helped Lynn to create Buffets fir 25+ family parties.

I never did get an interview as Cook, but I probably wouldn’t have got the job anyway, the cook employed had more experience. My start at the lunch club was delayed because although they had seen my criminal check record, the office was reluctant to take me on because I wasn’t paying for the certificate. If I had been employed by AgeUK, I would have needed more checks and had to pay for the certificate. However volunteers don’t need to pay for theirs. The only person employed by AgeUK in the lunch clubs though was the cook. I did tell them a few times that I had also applied to be a Befriender and I had even been introduced to the person in charge of the Skegness area. The storehouse TED meetings were every week, but the Lunch clubs were on the same day but fortnightly.

After several months CommunityLincs decided to discontinue looking for more clients to be Befriended. The only people being referred seemed to have care needs which I they didn’t think were suitable to be matched with volunteers. So they merged their befriending department with that of the AgeUK. Their employees got different jobs within the charity. The group meetings seem to now be associated with AgeUK as well. 

After the befriending departments were merged I was contacted by AgeUK to see if I would be interested in Befriending as they had received my details from CommunityLincs. I reminded them again that I had originally applied to be a Befriender. But that wasn’t quite the last obstacle with regards to befriending. The 1st I got matched with I was never introduced to because he decided to take up an option of going back home and living with his family. I was due to meet the 2nd at the Storehouse as part of the TED meeting but he never turned up because it was raining and although another meeting was arranged, he changed his mind about the meetings. Over time, I have now been matched with 3 different people but I will come back to them in a later post.

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