Like many charities, Staywell relies on volunteers to help us deliver our ten local services. Also, like many charities, we’ve seen a decline in volunteer numbers since the pandemic – at a time when older people are more in need of our services than ever before. As we approach Christmas, some of our volunteers share why they choose to give their time. This is Bob's story.


Hi there

My name's Bob and I’ve been volunteering for Staywell since 2016 both for their In Touch companionship service and as a driver. After I retired from teaching, I was considering how to make use of my time and  a friend suggested  Staywell. I contacted them to see if they could use my skills and enthusiasm and I was welcomed with open arms!


I have always enjoyed driving and used to drive a minibus for my school, so it made sense to start there. I pick up and drop off people to the day centre at Raleigh House, who would otherwise struggle to get out. It's great fun, having a laugh on the bus with everyone. I know the members love attending the day centre and it gives me great pleasure being able to help get them there and back home safely.

With respect to the In Touch service I am currently supporting six older people who are lonely and isolated. It's a mixture of phone calls and visiting them at home. I have also been happy to help by taking people shopping and getting their medications from the chemist. During the pandemic this service was a lifeline for people who were shielding at home.


I enjoy talking to people and sharing stories and opinions about the world. One gentleman I visit was also a teacher like me and we both have a love of history. I look forward to the visits so we can carry on where we left off as there's always lots to chat about! I really feel befriending meets the needs of isolated people in our community and clients are very grateful to people like me who volunteer and give up some time to brighten someone's day. Too many elderly folk are living on their own with family far away, so if I can do anything to help make them feel like they're not forgotten, then it's all worthwhile. It's fair to say I have formed solid relationships with those I talk to and visit and it's a real privilege to have gained their trust and confidence. It also does wonders for my own confidence knowing that my contribution is appreciated.

I have also learnt some valuable skills along my volunteer journey. For example, manual handling training to help people on and off the bus with mobility issues, use of wheelchairs and how to use the ramp on the bus. 

Staywell have been very supportive to me over the years and I really feel part of a team. They  really care about their volunteers, I get treated well and have regular wellbeing check-ins to see how I'm doing. 

I would really recommend volunteering to anyone who is able to give up some time on a regular basis for the benefit of others. Volunteering is for the wholehearted and requires a certain level of commitment, but the rewards are well worth it! The more effort you put in, the more you and others will benefit. Doing what I do alleviates the concerns I have about people being lonely.  I have and continue to gain so much from the volunteer experience and would also urge others to give it a go.


Join us

Inspired by Bob's story? Find out more about volunteering with Staywell. Find out more about Raleigh House and our In Touch service.