Meet our Volunteers – Christine
Christine is one of Age Concern Southend’s many volunteers. Our volunteers do an amazing job and we couldn’t offer all the services we do, without them. Our befriending service, volunteer drivers, office workers and fundraising events are all supported by over 200 people who give up their time for free to help the charity.
We spoke to one of our volunteers, Christine, about how she enjoys her involvement with Age Concern and the benefits of being a volunteer.
Tell us a little about yourself
I have lived in Westcliff on Sea for 59 years. I raised my family here and now they are married with children of their own I am loving being a Grandma. I enjoy visiting the theatre, listening to music and travelling. I have been lucky enough to visit my son and his family in Estonia a few times. My two chihuahua’s are great company and we have some great walks in the park.
What did you do before joining Age Concern as a volunteer?
I have done a number of jobs in the catering industry including cooking and waitressing. I have also done shop work and cleaning. I believe if you can work, you should. I started volunteering for SAVS and this resulted in me taking part time employment with them as their charity shop manager. I loved this work and meeting all the customers, as this was part time, it left the afternoons free for time with my doggies.
What do you do now at Age Concern?
I am a telephone befriender. I spend a few hours a week in the office and try to ring as many people as I can. Each one is different, I could be chatting about their lives and family or maybe hearing about their illnesses or problems.
How do you enjoy your volunteering role?
I love going into the office, I work with a superb friendly team and it feels like one big happy family. I find befriending very rewarding as I feel I am helping so many different people just by listening and being a friend on the other end of the phone.
How do you think you help the people you speak to as a befriender?
The people I speak to are varied and have different needs. Some want to talk about their health, some need advice and others are just lonely and need someone to chat to. Whatever the reason, I am there to help and over the years I have made many friends, who have told me how much they look forward to my weekly call.
What would you say to anyone thinking of volunteering?
I would say if you have issues or problems in your own life, by listening and helping others, it can make you see your difficulties in a different light. By helping others, you take away with you, a feeling of great satisfaction, which in turn, is good for your own well being.