Good Neighbours Case Study: Penny

Penny has volunteered for Good Neighbours for almost two years. She is married with three grown-up children and recently retired from running her own business. Penny began volunteering before she retired and needed voluntary work that was flexible. She came across the Good Neighbours project while researching local volunteer opportunities.

In Penny’s words: “The way VODA/Good Neighbours scheme works is ideal for me. It means that I can fit volunteering around our volunteering plans and care commitments for my father.”

Penny undertakes a variety of tasks for Good Neighbours, including gardening, shopping, collecting prescriptions, buddying, and DIY/odd jobs, often accompanied by her husband. Additionally, Penny lends a hand on VODA’s Help Me Be Digital project. Penny has contributed almost 100 hours of volunteering time and completed over 50 acts of kindness, which is remarkable.

Penny went above and beyond for beneficiary, James, who struggled to leave the house due to leg problems and was waiting for an operation for amputation. Besides getting James’s shopping each week, Penny often stayed to make him a cup of tea and have a chat. She did this regularly until James’s needs required further interventions.

Penny now shops regularly for a gentleman called Ken, a lovely 72-year-old who lives alone. Although Ken has family, they are too busy with work to assist him. Ken has various health issues that affect his mobility, including angina, arthritis in both hips and knees, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Ken wants to remain independent but greatly benefits from Penny’s help with shopping and thoroughly enjoys her visits.

Penny has supported a lady called Rosa. Rosa was referred to Good Neighbours by the Occupational Therapy team, who have been working with her on exposure therapy. Rosa wanted a buddy to accompany her to a community centre near her home to attend a craft/art club to help with her anxiety. Rosa’s mental health can be very variable, but she has enjoyed her visits to the community centre, and Penny has noticed that Rosa participates and interacts more than she did when she first started attending.

When asked what she has enjoyed most about her volunteering experience, Penny said: “It’s been great meeting and getting to know so many interesting, nice people. I also feel that I’m giving something back. I now have time to give and knowing that just a few hours can help make someone else’s day so much easier is rewarding… and you never know when you might be on the receiving end!”

For anyone considering volunteering, Penny says: “Absolutely give it a go. It’s not a commitment you can’t move away from. If it doesn’t feel right for you then stop, but I suspect you’ll not want to!”


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