Retired NHS Nurse Vi, describes her experiences as a Community Visitor in Colchester, Essex.

Vi

I am a retired registered nurse who worked in the NHS for over 40 years. In the last ten years of my working life I spent a considerable amount of time in residential and nursing homes and saw at first hand that sometimes the quality of life for residents was not all it could have be and in some instances was really quite poor. This had an effect on me and made me feel I wanted to do something about it. I wanted to find a way to have an influence and to reach out and help people who deserve better.

Becoming a volunteer Community Visitor has offered me that opportunity as I am able to befriend residents on my weekly visits and get to know them on a one-to-one basis. Hopefully as I’m building relationships with individuals they’ll feel comfortable to ask for help if they need it. My role is to act as an extra pair of eyes and ears and work alongside the management and care team as well as the residents and their families. For example, I’m able to offer extra support when someone has just moved into the home or a resident’s family is not often able to visit.

I’m told that the Community Visitors pilot in Colchester is proving successful and hopefully it can be rolled out across Essex so that everyone living in a residential care home can enjoy life to the full and according to their needs and preferences. I’m pleased to be part of this exciting project and it’s a great feeling knowing that the time I give can make a big difference to others.

I’m committed to volunteering and serve as a Governor at Colchester University Hospital and I also support St John Ambulance.

My family keeps me busy too, as I have 3 children and 8 grandchildren. My favourite way to relax is spending time away in Spain, hopefully soaking up the sunshine!