Lorna volunteers at not one, not two, but THREE organisations in the Borough!

Lorna currently volunteers with three separate organisations in our Borough, giving up her own time after retiring. This is her story of volunteering, and how her journey has influenced those around her in a positive way:

Volunteering has given me back some structure in my life. Having worked till I was 70, I found it very hard to fill in the empty hours. Volunteering provides structure, something to look forward to.

I feel that my role as a Befriender with Volunteering Matters in Stockton-on-Tees has helped me be a better listener and I am more confident meeting strangers, and more able to gain their confidence and establish friendship. I am learning that I can accept the responsibility of being responsible for people with medical conditions and/or disabilities, always aware when we are out and about of what  recautions I should take and feeling capable that I could cope. I feel I am becoming more patient, more adaptable, developing more understanding of the complex situations in ageing/and family situations.

Once a week I volunteer for the RVS, taking the trolley around almost all of the hospital. It takes about two and a half hours. It involves selling confectionary and other things patients might need during their stay in hospital. It involves a lot of contact and conversation, a certain amount of reassurance, and top and bottom of it all (I think) a brief moment of normality, we aren’t nurses or doctors, just an opportunity to make a decision about something for themselves – buying something and paying for it.

My other role is with Preston Park Museum. I volunteer twice a week there. Wednesday mornings I work in the heritage garden and that involves almost every aspect of gardening you could think of. From the seed to the harvest; from digging to planting and pruning. It is enormously enjoyably, often hard work and I am fortunate to be working with a small group of like-minded amateur gardeners. I have learned so much in the process.

Finally on a Sunday afternoon, I work with the discovery trolley (posh name eh?) It’s just a trolley filled with a variety of toys and games which I introduce and explain to the visiting children. They are toys that have been played with down the ages. I encourage them to be hands on; have a go. It leads to interesting discussions about the times before smart phones and computers, when toys were made from wood, clockwork, string, and where imagination played a big part. The interesting thing is that they love it. The adults do too: it triggers conversation like “I had one of those”.

Well there you go that’s what I do. The biggest thing is that it is not one sided. I get as much out of it as I hope the people I meet do.

Lorna is just one example of thousands of volunteers in Stockton-on-Tees. If you would like to get involved in volunteering, visit www.stocktonvolunteers.co.uk for more information. For more information on the organisation Lorna is volunteering with, use the contact details below:

Volunteering Matters: 01642 733915

Royal Voluntary Service (RVS): 01642 527948

Preston Park: 01642 527948