Volunteers come from all walks of life and all have something to offer. Some carers and former carers also volunteer.
I jumped at the chance to lead this group as I am now happily retired and know what it’s like to be a carer having cared in the past for many years for my best mate and my Mum. I also thought that as a former carer support worker at CiB I had some experience and knowledge which may be helpful to male carers.
Being a carer is often so time consuming and tiring that it takes over your life and what you want to do has to be put on the back burner. The men’s only walking group has given the five current members a chance to get away from their usual caring regimes and to meet others on a social basis.
Mick (centre) with some members of the men’s walking group
Peter volunteered previously for CAB after taking early retirement. Another volunteer suggested his skills and friendly approach would be useful to us. He calls people who are signed up to the Memory Navigation service for a catch up and to signpost them to services, offer information, support and listen.
“I thoroughly enjoy speaking to carers on the telephone. They are all very appreciative of the call and that CIB is genuinely interested in their wellbeing and how we may be able to help”
Keren joined our team of ambassadors who connect within their local communities to reach carers. She’s one of the friendly faces at local events who will tell carers about support for them from Carers in Bedfordshire. As a carer herself, she knows that people can struggle on their own and face isolation which harms their own well-being.
“I’d been with Carers in Beds for about 20 years. I care for 3 people – my partner and two of my children.
I decided to volunteer because I just felt in a better place. I had been volunteering at a special needs school for a while. Although my children are now adults and working, they still need more help”.
“While caring for my wife for over 10 years, we both received much advice and support from Carers in Bedfordshire. After she moved into nursing care, I wanted to volunteer to give something back but wasn’t sure how. Making tea and coffee at the cafés maybe?
“I let slip I was used to public speaking and giving presentations at work. I also still lead church services and have preached many a sermon! So I soon found myself as a volunteer ambassador. I’ve spoken to lunch clubs, neighbourhood groups, patient and rehabilitation groups, other local charities and a few healthcare professional groups. As an introduction I share a little of my experiences as a long term carer, from when I didn’t even know I was a carer, through to becoming 24/7 hands-on. A little humour helps make things lighter for the audience.”
Volunteers are not paid – not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless”