There’s been a huge groundswell of interest in volunteering during the past ten weeks since the Covid-19 crisis set in – so much so that Staywell, like many organisations, has not yet been able to take advantage of all the support offered. We believe that as restrictions are lifted, and families and neighbours of older people return to work and school, there will be an upsurge in demand for our support. Those volunteers who are waiting in the wings - as befrienders, coaches, advisers, IT tutors – will then be vitally important to everything we do as an organisation.

Whilst we’ve been in lockdown, we’ve been keeping in touch with our regular volunteers. Many of those who help and support us are older people themselves, sometimes isolated. For them, volunteering is a vital part of their own wellbeing. Some of them have been sharing their own experiences of lockdown.

‘I was so pleased to get a call from Mandy at Raleigh House. Sending my love to everyone! I haven‘t been out of the house, except into my garden, for weeks but I feel fine. A friend sent me a food hamper which cheered me up. I’m keeping in touch over the phone with Teresa, who is another volunteer. I never get bored as there is always something to do in the house, but I’m looking forward to coming back to Raleigh to volunteer if and when things get sorted.’

Anita, pictured above, with Teresa, both Monday volunteers.

Usually during Volunteers Week we have a summer party to celebrate the work of our volunteers, and thank them. Of course, this year this couldn't take place. The pictures on this page were all taken last year.

Ena has been a volunteer at Raleigh House for over 28 years. She was widowed some years ago, so is alone in lockdown. However, she sounded very cheerful and in good spirits when Shelley, Raleigh House day centre manager called her. ‘I’m fed up of being stuck indoors, but I’m getting lovely frozen meals from Kingston Aid and I have a very good corner shop for other bits and pieces. There’s a good community spirit where I live.’ Ena told Shelley she’d had a letter to say her boiler’s going to be checked and re-set. They talked about her social distancing while the engineer is there and maybe going in another room. Ena said her only clock, a small battery-operated one is playing up and she would like a new one, so we were able to order one online for her.

Ena, photographed above with Sheetal and Miri, all Saturday club (Dementia Service) volunteers.




This is our volunteer Kim (right), pictured with her Mum June at last summer’s party for our volunteers. ‘Kim and I have cleaned all the cupboards in the house and are trying to keep busy,’ June told Mandy, Raleigh House day centre manager. ‘I'm really looking forward to coming back to Raleigh, I miss everyone. I do my exercise every morning and I’m helping Mum with the chores.'

Dave plays a versatile role at Raleigh House. He is our Tovertafel magic table ‘buddy’, and has been helping people learn to use tablets donated by the Wavelength charity. Whilst the centre is closed, he’s been keeping in touch with members Grace and Michael.

Dave, right, with a group of Raleigh members, with a group of Raleigh members, and Michael, below, helping promote our fundraising efforts a little while ago.

'Your donations really do make a difference.'

More on this story:

Michael Whicher, volunteer and Raleigh House member, talks about what Raleigh House means to him.

How you can help:

We need your help to continue to support people like Michael, during lockdown and beyond.

Every donation goes towards providing frontline services in the local area. Find out more.