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Volunteers’ Week: Thanking our volunteers

ExtraCare is celebrating the contribution our volunteers make this Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June) and Chrissie Morris, our Charity Volunteers Lead, explains how volunteering can benefit everyone involved…


Volunteers support and enrich life in our retirement villages, schemes and charity shops. We have over 40 different established roles that our volunteers do, from helping in the gym to changing light bulbs to answering phones on reception. As well as helping with the facilities, volunteers also support our residents in a more focused way, perhaps by being a befriender or helping a dementia support worker with a reminiscence session.

We know that the most popular areas to volunteer in our retirement villages are:
1. Reception
2. Gym
3. Catering, including the coffee shop
4. Activities
5. Shop

And in our smaller schemes, the most popular volunteer roles are helping with activities, befriending, gardening and helping with coffee mornings.

We encourage staff in our locations to think about what their needs are, what would enable them to do more and what could benefit ExtraCare residents – could they not go on a trip because they didn’t have enough people to assist wheelchair users? Would volunteers be able to help with that? Then it might be time to recruit for that specific role.

Alternatively, someone may say they’d like to play the piano for residents or teach an Italian class or similar – they’d like to share their skills and knowledge.

We like to think of volunteering as a two-way street. As well as making a real difference and helping our residents we hope to be able to give our volunteers opportunities that fulfil their aspirations. We hope to provide positive experiences for our volunteers.

Volunteering could help with an individual’s personal development – some of our volunteers are young people seeking experience or people looking for a change of career. We’ve had people come and volunteer at ExtraCare, gain valuable skills and some have then gone on to have paid employment with ExtraCare or another organisation.

This week gives us the chance recognise the ongoing and valuable contributions that each one makes.

There are thousands of active volunteers across ExtraCare – we would like to thank them all!