On May 5th I went to West Ham with my good friend Sarah. Where is West Ham I hear you say? We arrived and met Alice from Spots of Time and about 10 other volunteers. We got taxis to the care home and when we arrived the room was quite full already with elderly people, care home workers and volunteers. It was bloody hot too and I’d worn a nice warm winter jumper.
To be honest I was really nervous. I was scared in case the elderly people didn’t want to talk to me. Nails Inc. had kindly donated some nail varnish and volunteers were painting nails. My friend Sarah had bought her mum’s dog, Pedro! What the hell was I going to do.
Then I remembered I’d bought some After Eights for them. I started walking around the room offering them. One gentleman was French speaking and I realised afterwards he couldn’t understand what I was saying. I also quickly learnt that you just need to start by asking their name and introducing yourself! Basics Emily.
The highlight of the day was communicating with a lady who couldn’t talk. She was hunched over in her chair alone. I was determined to not leave her out so asked if she wanted to see the dog. She winked. Pedro came over and behaved beautifully. He definitely knew the role he was playing that day. I asked if she wanted to feed Pedro and she winked again, with a third & forth wink for after eights.
It just shows that everyone deserves a little bit of time. Even one hour is precious and lifted the room. Each person has a ‘voice’ to be heard, sometimes you have to ‘listen’ that bit harder.
It would be so amazing if schools factored volunteering into the curriculum, so it became the cultural norm.