“I retired about 8 years ago after a life-long office based career. Since then my life in the fast lane of a busy working life slowed down to a moderate pace of travelling, photography, reading, walking, music and socialising with friends. And just enjoying the simple pleasure, when each July came around, of being able to watch Wimbledon during the day instead of always having to be in catch up mode of an evening.
But very slowly the feeling started to come over me – ‘well, is this it?’ I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was capable and should be doing more.
Whilst walking past St John’s one day, it dawned on me that I had never lost that feeling of attachment to the people behind those walls. Albeit many years ago now, my Dad was offered accommodation in the St John’s North Side Almshouses. At that time, I was finding it hard not only dealing with the unexpected death of my mother, but also then taking on the welfare of my ageing father whilst holding down a full-time job in Southampton. Once we had moved my Dad in to St John’s, I was able to relax knowing that he was now living within a community that would be looking out for him during the many hours I couldn’t be around.
Then came the ‘light bulb’ moment – why don’t I volunteer some time at St John’s?
Since May 2018, I have been giving my time and helping out the staff in their busy reception office.
I enjoy the variety of tasks and love the interaction with all the St John’s staff and Residents alike. It is a joy having a laugh and a chat with the residents whilst out and about hand delivering paperwork to their homes.
Looking back to when I first retired, I still have that busy and enjoyable personal life but I now have that additional feeling of wellbeing knowing that I am volunteering and helping out at St John’s and I also feel proud to be working alongside such a dedicated and caring workforce.