Group Coordinator Anne shares her volunteering journey
Ever wondered what it’s like to be a Contact the Elderly Group Coordinator? Anne, a Group Coordinator of seven years, tells us what it is all about!
How long have you been volunteering with Contact the Elderly (now Re-engage) for?
I joined Contact the Elderly in April 2012, having retired early from work a couple of years before hand.
What inspired you to get involved with us?
I’d been looking around for some time for suitable volunteer work when the local Trades and Services brochure popped through the door, containing a small advert for Contact the Elderly volunteers.
I really wanted to connect with the older generation.
We’d recently almost halved our family size, losing both of my parents, my husband’s aunt and my aunt – so it sounded liked a great opportunity to build up relationships and friendships.
What attracted you to the role of Group Coordinator?
Initially, I intended to be a Host, possibly a Driver, but my local group had just started and they were looking for a Group Coordinator. I’d been a training officer for Northumberland County Council, so I felt that I had the skills to take it on.
Group Coordinators plan the monthly gatherings and ensure they run smoothly. Different volunteers do it differently, but I normally send out a printed schedule with the year’s tea party details at the beginning of the year.
It takes a couple of evenings to liaise with the other volunteers and hosts, and I try to make sure I attend every tea party.
Most memorable tea party moment?
For the past couple of years, I’ve put on a big tea party at our home in June - inviting all our Guests and our Volunteer Hosts and Drivers and their families.
It’s a chance to get together again and catch up, and show our appreciation for all they do.
What’s the best thing about being involved with Contact the Elderly (now Re-engage)?
I feel I receive at least as much from my involvement with our Contact the Elderly group as I give, and I really do appreciate our great team of dedicated and enthusiastic drivers and hosts, who ‘go the second mile’ whenever they can - and without whom our group wouldn't exist or be so happy and positive. Plus, my husband Tom's 'behind-the-scenes' as well as 'front-of-house' support is invaluable!
My hero was my Mum. She had such a generosity of spirit and had a gift for noticing the people who otherwise often seemed to get overlooked, forgotten, ignored - regarded as of no significance.
People need to be noticed. Their presence and life is significant. They need to be valued and appreciated.
Being invited to a tea party does this. Marking their birthday does this. A hug does this.