Our volunteers at Abbeyfield are important to our houses and homes; they help to enrich our houses and resident's lives and bring us all together as a community. As well as helping others, volunteering has been proven to help improve your wellbeing, helps you to gain new skills and let's you meet new people. We asked Nicola, a volunteer at Cunningham House in Pirbright some questions about why she volunteers and why it's important to her.

Nicola with residents from Cunningham House

How did you find out about volunteering at Abbeyfield and why did you choose to do it for us?

Cunningham House is in Pirbright, the village in which I live. I was approached by a member of the House committee 13 years ago and asked whether I would like to volunteer there and so I joined the house committee. I chose to volunteer at Cunningham House, because it was local and when I went to look round, it was so warm, friendly and homely, with interesting residents that it was difficult to say no!

What does your role involve?

Over the years I have been on the house committee, chairman of the House Committee and a member of the board of trustees but more recently I was responsible for organising the social events such as regular scrabble meetings and film afternoons and also outings for the residents - pub lunches, garden centre visits - and also welcoming entertainers to the house.

What's your favourite thing about volunteering?

I feel that it has been a privilege to be involved with Cunningham House, because our residents are so interesting and engaged, they make it a pleasure to volunteer there. I am still trying to beat one of our residents (in her 90's) at scrabble!!

Why do you think Abbeyfield's mission is an important one to support?

The Abbeyfield mission is an important one to support as I am aware of the large number of elderly living on their own at home with carers popping in and out. At Cunningham House, there is always someone to talk to you if you want to. The residents come together for a midday and evening meal and have lively debates about politics, current events and catch up with each other’s family. There is too much loneliness in the community and I feel that Abbeyfield is addressing this.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about volunteering?

If someone was thinking of volunteering, I’d wholeheartedly encourage them. For the few hours I gave up, I had the benefit of meeting and spending time with some fantastic people, not only residents but other volunteers too. I learnt about life during the second world war, school days in the 1930's, and local village history that I would never have known about.

Nicola volunteering at Cunningham House

If you're interested in finding out more about volunteering at Abbeyfield or specific opportunities at any of our houses and homes, please email volunteering@abbeyfield.com.


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