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We spoke to two of our wonderful volunteers in the Pavilion at Gathering Ground and asked them a few questions about their volunteering journey.

  1. What made you want to volunteer?

Sally - I retired 18 months ago and before I was about to retire, I started looking around to see things I’d like to do. I saw this advertised because I live locally and I have worked with older people, and at work I did have some contact with people living with dementia. I thought, this ticks all the boxes! I filled out the online application form and the rest is history really!

Shaun – I had previously worked in care, and I came across people living with dementia, but also a friend of mine – his father was diagnosed with dementia as well. Partially because of care work generally and enjoying helping others, and obviously dementia is such a horrible disease that the idea of making people’s lives even a little bit easier to deal with while living with dementia was enough reason for me to volunteer.


  1. What do you enjoy about volunteering with Age UK Sheffield?

Sally – I enjoy the people that I’m working with, and the customers and I think if I have managed to make somebody smile and laugh, that’s made it all worthwhile for the day. I enjoy the fact that when we meet the carers, the family, husbands, wives, that we are giving them a bit of respite. I’m only working for the day, and I know the hard work it can be, living with somebody who is living with dementia, but generally I feel it is a real meaningful occupation for me as a retired person. I just really enjoy doing it and the people I’m working with.

Shaun – I agree with Sally there, yes, it’s the camaraderie. It can be hard work at times but it is also really enjoyable and really rewarding work. Like Sally said, if you can make somebody laugh or just take them out of that zone for a while or get them included in something that they end up really enjoying that they probably didn’t think they were going to. It’s just a lovely experience generally.


  1. What would you say to people that were debating volunteering?

Sally – I would say give it a go. Perhaps they are able to come along and chat to somebody. I know that’s certainly been offered to me. Maybe just give it a go and you come as a volunteer so if you did find out it wasn’t really your cup of tea, you don’t have to pursue it, but I certainly would think if it’s slightly on your radar perhaps just give it a go.

Shaun – I’d say what have you got to lose? You’ve only got things to gain. Some people might think, “why am I doing it for nothing” but you’re not doing it for nothing. You’re doing it for the experience; you’re doing it for the people, you’re doing it for the general good and that’s a great reason for volunteering. It might not be for everybody but the only way to find that out is to try it in the first place.


  1. What advice would you give to someone that was looking to volunteer?

Shaun – Do your research. Maybe it’s something that is personally affecting somebody in your family, so you want to know more about it, maybe it’s just you want to try and help but talk to people who are either workers or volunteers. Ask them their experiences and give it a go because you might actually surprise yourself with how much you enjoy it and how much you benefit from it, as well as the customers that you’re helping out. You’ve got nothing to lose and potentially quite a lot of things to gain including experience. What have you got to lose?!

Sally – In this day and age you can just go on the website and put in volunteering, and there is certainly lots of information there and there’s numbers, people you can ring or email, so if you’re thinking of it maybe start from that place.


  1. If you could summarise your volunteering experience in one word, what would it be?

Shaun – Enriching!

Sally – Fulfilling!

Would you like to volunteer?

Whether you'd also want to volunteer in some of our dementia services, befriending, our shops, or have some ideas of your own, visit our volunteers page to find out more and get in touch with us.