Esther and Genevieve, two students at Monkton Combe School talk about their experiences volunteering at Bridgemead:
Genevieve says: “I started volunteering at Bridgemead every Wednesday in September 2017 and since then I have learned a variety of new skills and even made new friends! At the start, I was always nervous to initiate a conversation with residents but once I noticed how some of their faces lit up when we walked into the sitting room, I was encouraged and have now found that my conversational skills have indeed got better. My afternoons at Bridgemead are the highlight of my week and what I look forward to. Each week we serve tea and cakes at tea time, once we’ve cleared up, we chat to the residents. After coming for five months, I know most of them fairly well and therefore have weekly catch ups.
I can definitely say that this has boosted my confidence and has made a more caring, understanding and patient person.”
Esther says: “Every Wednesday afternoon as part of community service from our school, my friend and I come to Bridgemead care home to volunteer by doing the tea round and chatting with the elderly residents. I have found that by investing the time to sit down, have a conversation and listen to the residents’ stories I have learnt not only about all the many paths people take in their lives and the wisdom they have learnt but also how to be patient, kind and how to genuinely take interest and learn from someone in such a different stage of life from me. I began this volunteering thinking it would be just another good item to put on my CV but after lots of cups of teas and a few months later I have realised that it so much more than that, it’s given me a chance to make connections with people I otherwise would never have spoken to, to show me the importance of valuing and respecting our elderly population and how to always be ready to help others and be there for whatever is needed. I am so grateful for the opportunity Bridgemead has given me and I would encourage anyone to take the time to go and volunteer there, as the reward is so much more than that amount of time could get you.”
Bridgemead and its residents are very grateful to the girls for giving up their time to help. Geoff Weekes says: “Having the girls with us has been a pleasure. They have clearly benefitted from the experience but the residents themselves have so enjoyed the experience of having the girls with us. I found their attitudes to the residents and to their work amongst us to be both a credit to themselves and to the school. The statements made by the girls are both heart-warming and inspirational.”