Joan has been volunteering in WALK for over four years. Her volunteering role is within our Older Person’s Group and mostly involves her supporting two women, Mary and Margaret, to their social club, ‘the One Voice Group’ in Fatima on a weekly basis.
Joan has always had a keen interest in Older Person’s and in her teenage years she volunteered to work with older persons before going on to set up her own visitation unit. Joan wanted to return to volunteering after many years away from it and a friend of hers suggested that WALK would be a good place to go.
She recalls being nervous standing outside the door of the main building but as soon as she was greeted by one of the team and she walked in the door all her anxieties melted away. She said she had an overwhelming sense that the place was really welcoming and full of kindness - and this thought stays with her to this day. She says that seeing the people we support and the staff team working together fills her with a sense of calm and wholesomeness because she says all interactions are kind, thoughtful and gentle; she also feels the team she works hard encouraging people to do the things that the person wants to do.
Joan says that on occasion the One Voice Group meet up in different places or go to other events. She said that she passes the information on to her supervisor and that she is confident that Mary and Margaret never miss out even if she is not available to attend. She recalls one day that the Group were going on a trip to Bray. There was a problem with the bus and it looked as if Mary and Margaret would not be able to join their friends on the trip. Joan said she contacted her supervisor who said, ‘we’ll figure this out, don’t worry’. And five minutes later the supervisor had reset her own plans for the day and drove Mary, Margaret and Joan out to Bray herself. Joan says she feels this type of behaviour of very typical in WALK; they will be flexible to help people move their day around to support people to do what is important for them.
Joan says ‘I get more out of volunteering than what I put in’. She feels supported by WALK through her supervisor and also through the different training courses she has completed to enable her to fulfil her role properly. This included diabetes, manual handling and basic first aid training. She said when she started volunteering she would not have envisaged the level of upskilling that she has done as part of the process but that she has really enjoyed it.
Joan would recommend WALK as a place to volunteer.