Ken Robb, 70, had some free time and decided to volunteer his musical skills to enrich the lives of older people in Age NI day centres.
I've been volunteering with Age NI since January 2015. The phrase 'playing our part' struck a chord with me (pardon the pun!) when I heard it on a radio interview with Linda Robinson, Age NI Chief Executive, who was talking about the joint BBC NI and Age NI Playing our Part campaign at Christmas 2014. I decided I wanted to play my part too so I got in touch.
I play the keyboard and enjoy singalongs with the day centre residents in Ballyclare, East Belfast and Dunmurry, many of whom are living with dementia. I visit each centre once a month.
Volunteering through music inspires me because it’s a positive way to give back to the community. I’m motivated by how much the older people enjoy the musical sessions - it’s really great to know that what I’m doing is making a positive contribution.
I enjoy seeing the relationships between the residents and care team, and the big smiles on the faces of those who are having fun. I’m amazed by the talents of many older people who sing and recite poetry.
Being semi-retired, I still run my business. I fit volunteering into my own life by allocating one day each month to visit an Age NI day centre. I also record our songs onto CD which I produce either in the evening or weekends. I give everyone a copy to listen to at home.
At 70 years old I can relate to the hopes, aspirations and challenges of growing older. I believe that through my music I’m helping to alleviate the feelings of isolation and loneliness that many older people experience.
After my parents passed away I always felt that I could, or should, have done more for them, even though they lived into their 90s and enjoyed good health. Through my volunteering role with Age NI, I feel driven to do all I can for other older people.
At the end of my day, when I think about time spent with older people at the centre, and they’ve asked ‘Ken, when are you coming back?’ that simple question reminds me that I’ve made a difference in their life. I get as much out of volunteering as everyone else – that’s a great nightcap!
Read about volunteering at a day centre
To volunteer, fill out the volunteer form, telephone 028 9024 5729 or email firstname.lastname@example.org