A Wetherby charity’s longest-serving volunteer has backed calls for more people to come forward to support its work, as plans to restore core services for older people gather pace.
Wetherby in Support of the Elderly (WiSE) says it wants more people like Jacqueline Heseltine to consider volunteering with them as it plans to reintroduce some face-to-face activities, befriending visits and events from next month.
Jacqueline, aged 68, from Thorp Arch, is about to celebrate her sixth anniversary as a WiSE volunteer and says the best bit about her role is knowing the difference she makes to an older person’s life.
“I started to volunteer for WiSE in April 2015 at one of the regular memory café meets. I was very nervous, but the other volunteers and the then events coordinator, Karen, made me feel very welcome.
“I decided to volunteer as I was a senior care assistant looking after older people in a care home. I loved the job, and when the home closed, I missed working with the residents. So when I retired and had more time, I saw an advert for volunteers within WISE and here I am years later.
“The thing I like most about volunteering is helping people who are sometimes forgotten about, and to make them feel that somebody does care – and to stop them being alone.
“I enjoy volunteering for all the service areas of WISE, but particularly the events, which are all so different and range from line dancing to cafes, and poetry sessions. Unfortunately, the pandemic means I’ve not been able to volunteer for WISE directly as they have been forced to postpone their key services and put in place others. However, as the roadmap continues and restrictions are lifted, I am hoping to attend events again soon.
“WISE is a great charity that supports the older community. You only have to listen to the people around Wetherby to know that it is doing a good job. For people who are thinking of volunteering- just do it. You can do as much, or as little, as you want. It’s so rewarding to think that you have helped someone to feel better about themselves.”
WiSE plans to reintroduce some of its core services from 17 May, in line with the government’s roadmap out of lockdown.
Mark Dobson, Chief Operating Officer at WiSE, said:
“Volunteers are the lifeblood of our work. They are central to many of our most important services, and we are always looking for more so that we can help even more isolated, older people live happy and fulfilling lives.
“Some people volunteer for just an hour a week as a befriender, whilst others contribute more time towards supporting our many other services. Enthusiasm, positivity and the ability to listen are skills we need, but if you have other skills which might support our work, we’ll do our best to find the right volunteering opportunity for you.”
If you think you can help us and would like to find out more, contact WiSE via email at email@example.com or phone 01937 588994.