Volunteers get a glow from helping others

Daily Echo: Volunteers get a glow from helping others Volunteers get a glow from helping others

WHEN Barbara Wright was looking for a voluntary job she knew she wanted to go to the Countess Mountbatten Hospice.

Her first husband passed away there in 1994 and she met her second husband, Colin, there at a group for bereaved spouses.

When she and Colin married 19 years ago, they asked their guests to make donations to the hospice rather than give them presents – it has always been close to their hearts.

“I knew they needed volunteers and that it was something I could do,” says Barbara, 67, from Sholing, Southampton.

“At the Countess Mountbatten you’re giving that extra service that people wouldn’t get otherwise.”

Barbara, a former community pharmacist, volunteers at the hospice in West End one day a week, doing an extra day once a month.

Colin also has a weekly voluntary role, at Vitalise in Netley, a holiday home for disabled people where his son went as a child.

Colin also volunteers regularly with the Scouts and Barbara is a volunteers usher at the Berry Theatre and does shopping for elderly people at Communicare, while they are both involved with children’s amateur dramatics group Performing Arts Company in Hedge End. They also run their local Ramblers’ Association – Colin is secretary, Barbara is president.

They say that on average they spend around two days a week doing voluntary work.

“It increases your sense of self worth and you get to meet lots of likeminded people,” says Colin, 73.

Barbara adds: “It’s always nice to be wanted.

You get a little glow from helping people. And from a selfish point of view, volunteering gives some structure to your week.”

The couple agree that volunteering keeps their brains active and gives them lots of interesting things to talk about when they are together.

Voluntary working also helps create boundaries between their time, separating ‘work’ from leisure, and helps them to enjoy their free time more.

“Tuesday is supposed to be our day to go out and do things, but we often think ‘oh good, nothing to do today!’” says Barbara.

With their grown up children not living in the area, so them not being called on as baby sitters and plenty of free time on their hands, Barbara and Colin find that volunteering suits their lifestyle perfectly – and enriches it greatly. Not that they want to do too much. “We have to have time for holidays as well!” laughs Colin.

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