Maria has been a volunteer at the Banstead Centre for 7 months. After a career in the care sector, some time ago she found herself incapacitated with a serious back problem, which changed her life. Surgery got her back on to her feet, but she lives with chronic pain and is now unable to work.


'Yes, I could walk again, but I was used to working 70-80 hours a week, and at home in my flat all day, I was climbing the walls. I looked everywhere, but there are no social groups for people with chronic pain.'


Maria now regularly helps in the kitchen, and is incredibly positive about her role as a volunteer, talking with great animation about how much she enjoys working with older people.


‘This place has been a lifeline. Volunteering has made me feel worthwhile again. People don’t know that people like me can volunteer, and what volunteering can do for people like me.’