Helping others, helps ourselvesBeing a Buddy brought unexpectedly heartwarming benefits to our volunteers

 

As we prepare to launch a new volunteering programme internally, we reflect on the inspiring success of its predecessor the Buddy Scheme – launched in a matter of weeks at the start of 2020 as an emergency response to lockdown.

More than 500 of our employees stepped in to help over 1,600 homeowners at our retirement living developments, making sure they had food, medication and a friendly chat during an incredibly tough time. The gratitude that was felt by isolated or shielding homeowners was humbling, but we discovered being a Buddy brought massive benefits for our volunteers too.

Terri Gammon, Development Coordinator

“At the start of COVID19, volunteering as a Buddy gave me a sense of purpose. The meaningful connection with the homeowners continues to give me great pleasure and satisfaction. I feel an innate sense of pride and accomplishment in giving much-needed help and support to our homeowners during these uncertain times. My social circle has widened to a broader range of interesting people as a result of volunteering!

I know I have made a difference to people who were lonely or frustrated by the isolation the pandemic has caused. As a naturally cheerful and upbeat person, they are extremely pleased to see a friendly face, get their essential supplies and have a chat. They have gained confidence and appreciated the fact that this service is available to them. I look forward to continuing this journey!”

Paul Russell, Head of Innovation

“The opportunity to volunteer has enabled me give something back to those who live locally. It has helped me find a new routine, a new purpose and learn something new at a time when everything has been uncertain.

For my homeowners, the benefit is not just in the practicalities of medication and provisions, it’s needing to think ahead to write a list, it’s looking forward to a cheery conversation about the price of bread, the weather, Boris’s hair and whatever else . . . !

The best part of the experience for me has been an overriding sense of being able to do the right thing and the ample reward of kindness and gratitude from those I am able to help.

I would thoroughly recommend others get involved, you’ll be amazed what you learn, who you’ll meet and how great you’ll feel.”

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