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In July, we asked:

“Have you got any experience of volunteering or helping out in your local community?”

If you answered yes: “Can you tell us about your experiences and anything that might have improved them?”

If you answered no: “What, if anything, would encourage you to get involved?”

This month’s question generated some very interesting comments about volunteering and helping out in the local community.  Of the 60 older people we spoke with from across the county, only 13 people said they had no experience of volunteering.

Whilst many continue to volunteer today, a few older people said that their own declining health and caring responsibilities made it difficult for them to continue volunteering.  The ongoing COVID-19 restrictions also made it challenging for some to continue with their usual volunteering activities.

“I used to volunteer for Age UK when I lived in Devizes, I loved it and it’s a great organization - I was made to feel very welcome and valued.  I had to give up as I became a full-time carer, but I always tell people what a positive experience volunteering it was”.

Most people we spoke with were very positive about their experiences of volunteering and said they felt it gave them a sense of purpose, stropped them feeling isolated and many said how much they enjoyed having opportunities to meet and help other people and support their local community.

“I loved volunteering and getting out meeting new people it was the best thing I ever did - it stopped me sitting at home being miserable; I always felt I was valued and appreciated”

Several people mentioned the importance supporting an organisation you have a connection with as you are probably familiar with the needs of the group. The range of different types of volunteering undertaken by older people in Gloucestershire was very impressive. We spoke with trustees and committee members for The Towns Women’s Guild and Local History Societies. And others who volunteered in charity shops, at local hospitals, dog walking, and several people who help with Brownies, Guides and Cubs.

When I got to 80 I thought it was time to stop sleeping on the floor at Guide camps, but I still help out!”

For more information contact:

Helen Atkinson, Head of Age Friendly Innovation on 01452 420931 or email hatkinson@ageukgloucestershire.org.uk