Lisa Carpenter is a Community Visitor at a residential care home for older people and her role is to help the residents to live their lives to the full.
Lisa is a major player in our Community Visitors’ project which we piloted in Colchester and, due to its runaway success, are about roll-out across Essex. We were delighted to be invited to share our good news with colleagues at a regional event of the National Council for Volunteer Organisations (NCVO)*.
As Lisa told the audience, when she first got to know two of the care home residents she was touched by their responses when they heard what she was aiming to do:
So, we haven’t been forgotten then – thank you.
So you’re really our friend.
That brought tears to my eyes and reinforced that what I was doing was right.
As Community Visitors we are there to support where we can, to support staff and the families in what is often a very difficult time in their lives. This can be a time of worry and concern for the whole family, for some family members there is, of course, associated guilt. As Community Visitors, we are very aware of these feelings and are there for the families to talk to and express any concerns or worries they might have.
She went on to explain how she built up relationships with the care team to overcome any curiosity about her role and assure the carers that she wasn’t there to check up on them. As she said:
The staff do a wonderful job, but as much as they would like to, they don’t always have the time to sit and chat with the residents or read a newspaper and discuss the daily news with them.
To confirm Lisa’s success in establishing herself as a valued member of the team the manager invited her to attend the residents’ meetings and has offered to include her in certain staff training, which she is happy to do to further her expertise.
Please read Lisa’s story for yourself to find out more about the difference that Lisa and her fellow Community Visitors are making. If you’re considering volunteering and would like to find out more about becoming a Community Visitor please contact Debbie Tanner, or telephone her on 0845 017 1095.
You can download a copy of Lisa's presentation here.
*The NCVO is is the umbrella body for the voluntary and community sector in England and has a membership of over 10,000 voluntary organisations. It works to support the voluntary and community sector and to create an environment in which an independent civil society can flourish. It formed in 1919 following a legacy from from Edward Vivian Birchall who had played a large part in the emerging voluntary sector before he was killed in France during the First World War. We are proud to be carrying on the tradition of voluntary community service, particularly during the WW1 centenary year.