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Monthly archives for December, 2014

Meeting the Inner Swordswoman

Posted on 24th December 2014 by

In July, I attended the funeral of Eve Bracegirdle, who had been a member of the Neighbourhood Care Scheme (NCS) for many years, and whose picture, together with her volunteer Daniela Westcott, appears at the head of the NCS page on the website. The funeral was a celebration of a long life well-lived. I was particularly struck by this photograph of Eve from before the War:

Eve NCS Fencing

Eve’s spirit, determination and zest – so evident in the photo – were still immediately apparent when I first met her sixty years later, though her physical prowess had declined. Last year I reached the age of sixty, but I still felt very much in touch with my inner sixteen-year-old, though he was not visible at all in the mirror. People’s spirit can remain more sprightly than their bodies as they get older. It is one of the pleasures of running NCS to be able to introduce our volunteers to older people – with their inspiring inner swordswomen, inner adventurers, inner sixteen-year-olds, inner whatever – and their depth of knowledge and experience.

Eve’s life was remarkable (as the obituary below by her son Nicolas clearly shows). But she was typical of most of our scheme members – they still have a lot to give even if they no longer have their youthful physical powers. Feedback from our volunteers confirms that they enjoy being with these spirited older people:

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Mince Pies, Friends and Neighbours!

Posted on 12th December 2014 by

Mince Meet Up poster

A couple of weeks ago, I was at a meeting at The Fed Centre for Independent Living with a small group of people who had been involved in their Out and About pilot project. We were looking at how we could translate the lessons of the project into accessible guidance both for individuals who might want to help a person with a physical disability or an older person go out safely and for groups which would like to increase access to their activities. For people who are at risk of being housebound, getting out of the house and enjoying activities with the opportunity to make new friends can be really life-enhancing. The Out and About group plan to produce a simple advice leaflet in 2015.

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#GivingTuesday – Diary of a Volunteer

Posted on 2nd December 2014 by

Fran has recently completed an 8 week placement as a volunteer receptionist with the support of Better Futures. She has thoroughly enjoyed this experience and has recorded her reflection in a weekly diary. Fran is now continuing her role and was keen to share her experiences with others, so they can get an understanding of the typical journey they might expect from doing one of our placements. We decided to publish her story today for #GivingTuesday as Fran’s volunteering is a great example of the the work of our staff in accompanying service users on their journey to become comfortable with volunteering by themselves.

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