Volunteers’ Week – Why people love sharing time with Royal Star & Garter residents

Volunteers at Royal Star & Garter’s three Homes have spoken about why they love spending time with residents.

Jules Bendell, Christine Mitchell and Paul Wood were speaking ahead of Volunteers’ Week, which runs from 1-7 June.

Royal Star & Garter is a charity which provides loving, compassionate care to veterans and their partners living with disability or dementia, and has Homes in Solihull, Surbiton and High Wycombe.

Volunteers were an important part of life in the Homes, but visiting restrictions during the pandemic meant they were unable to come in – though some were able to continue their support through activities like the Zoom choir.

However, in November 2021, the charity appealed for volunteers to return after Covid-19 restrictions were lifted.

Christine Mitchell joined Royal Star & Garter’s Solihull Home as a Healthcare Assistant in 2009. When she retired in 2021, she knew she wanted to keep coming to the Home as a volunteer. She now helps out with outings, or at the Home assisting with activities and chatting to residents. She said:

“I enjoy coming in and I enjoy the residents’ company and the staff’s company. Before I retired I knew I could come back as a volunteer – it’s such a lovely Home to come to.”

Jules Bendell was one of the first volunteers to help at the High Wycombe Home when it opened in 2019. Her husband Anthony ‘Bugs’ Bendell AFC OBE was a decorated RAF pilot and former resident at our Surbiton Home, and the charity named its High Wycombe Home’s second floor, Bendell House, in his honour. Jules said:

“It’s lovely to be back and see residents and staff again. I chat and spend time with residents, I help with activities and at lunchtimes too. It’s nice to be back in the Home, it’s rewarding to help people.”

Paul Wood is about to start volunteering at the Surbiton Home. The Royal Marines Commando veteran was seriously injured in Iraq in 2004, losing the use of a hand, and later was medically discharged. Since then he has volunteered for Armed Forces charities and fundraised for wounded and injured service personnel. He said:

“I am really looking forward to coming to Royal Star & Garter. It will be nice spending time with residents at the Home. As a veteran myself I think I will be able to relate to their journey.”

Volunteers’ Week is an annual celebration of the contribution millions of people make across the UK through volunteering. It is a chance to recognise their work in communities, and to say thank you.

Royal Star & Garter is welcoming new residents. For further information, please go to www.starandgarter.org

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