Volunteer Blog

 Wednesday 27 July 2022

"The wheels on the bus go round and round..."

Simon, like many of our volunteers, started volunteering during the COVID pandemic when he helped at a vaccination centre.  He has since become a volunteer driver and what came across from my chat with Simon is his great enthusiasm for the work. 

Thursday 7 July 2022 

The World of Volunteering is Very Welcoming

Claire started volunteering with Communities 1st as a response to the COVID epidemic.  She hadn’t any experience of volunteering in this country and, to be honest, she hadn’t heard of Communities 1st! However, her experience has been very positive, and she was keen to tell me that she found the world of volunteering very welcoming even though, in the face of “the crisis,” everyone was under pressure and so busy. 

Wednesday 8 June 2022

The Benefits of Voluntary Groups Working Together!

Elly might have helped you at a vaccination centre or brought you your shopping. Many more of you may have heard her voice on local radio! Elly O’Meara is a volunteer with both Communities 1st and  Radio Verulam! Like many  volunteers, Elly  supports more than one group and her experience  highlights the potential benefits  for both the volunteer and the organisations.

Monday 9 May 2022

V is for Volunteer, Vaccinations and Valuable!

V is also the name by which a very special lady likes to go by when she is doing voluntary work for Communities 1st.  Born in Europe, V came to England over 35 years ago and first lived in West London.  She explained to me that her name can be quite difficult to pronounce, so when she is volunteering she likes to be known simply as V!   

Wednesday 23 March 2022

Let’s Remember and Celebrate our Volunteers!

Ben started as a volunteer shopper with Communities 1st in 2020, as the Covid epidemic was sweeping the country, and he has continued ever since. Ben, who is in his early forties and living in St Albans, hadn’t done any voluntary work before, but it was a wish to help tackle the pandemic that drove him to put his name forward. He was working from home and had some spare time, so could easily fit in some voluntary work. 

Thursday 17 March 2022

How being a volunteer shopper keeps you on your toes!

“Doing shopping for frail, elderly and vulnerable people who can’t get out is such a vital service. It’s a real lifeline,” Mary told me as I chatted with her while she drove home! She was, of course, on speaker phone so she could reassure me that she was driving safely. 

Weds 16 March 2022

The Commitment of a ‘Fantastic’ Communities 1st Volunteer Shopper

Both in their late 80's, Betty and John have now enjoyed 65 years of marriage. They met up when John was completing National Service in the R.A.F., moved to Wembley, and have  juggled working lives with bringing up two daughters.- Betty managed various temporary jobs until she finally retired at 65 as a School Secretary in Watford. John worked in the battery industry until he had to retire through ill health at 55.

Tue 1 March 2022

Discovering the Shopper Bus Service

It all started with Beryl's Blue Bus. A few years ago, Beryl noticed an unusual wagon off-loading shoppers outside her local Sainsburys and enquired who the bus was for. She learned that this was one of the many helpful services provided by Communities 1st and, now in her late 80s. Beryl is so pleased that she discovered them. Since her husband Ron passed away seven years ago, Beryl has lived on her own with a number of health challenges. She now relies on Communities 1st’s assistance for shopping trips and getting to her hospital appointments.

Tue 15 February 2022

Solving the Nursing Shortage with Apple Pie and Kindness

Coral, a volunteer with Communities 1st, found that chatting about cake helped her to engage with Nigerian nurses working at the Lister Hospital! The nurses found cake both a source of comfort and entertainment! What is it about the English and their cake?

Thurs 16 December 2021 

'You get out as much as you put in'

Sue Horne could almost be regarded as a professional volunteer - except that she never submits an invoice! For over 35 years Sue has been devoting her time to a wide variety of volunteering roles. These have included supporting witnesses attending St. Albans Crown Court, lending support to the 'Home-Start' organisation (which gives assistance to families with young children), working on Disability Appeal Tribunals...

Mon 6 December 2021

'If I could, I would be a volunteer myself'

Polly has lived in Borehamwood for some 33 years. She loves her small home, which has a cottage like feel, and when she moved there she was "a bit of a DIY fanatic', decorating and even tackling “the electrics.”  Now in her mid-70s and with a poorly back, sadly she can no longer undertake such tasks. However Communities 1st and the handyperson service has come to the rescue. She has used the service on several occasions and is very impressed by the work that has been done.

Wed 3 November 2021

Judy Sings Communities 1st’s Praises!

Judy is a regular user of Communities 1st transport, Handyperson, and shopping delivery services. After being born in Canada and living in the USA, Judy has now lived in Borehamwood for over twenty years. She has serious health needs and believes that Communities 1st has provided her with a lifeline and enhanced the quality of her life.

Tues 20 July 2021

The Benefits of Kindness

Anything but a dumb blonde, Aly concluded her 30 years of police service by working in an Intelligence Unit. Coming from a sporting family, Aly was still keen to maintain her fitness after retirement by cycling, walking, and recently even white-water rafting!

Wed 7 July 2021

Kindness in the Community

After trying out a wide range of volunteering roles, Rod was encouraged and uplifted by the many acts of kindness he encountered with people in the Hertfordshire community, who give up their time for the less fortunate. A resident of Welwyn Garden City, Rod first became involved as a volunteer within the Welwyn & Hatfield Community & Voluntary Service, after previously working as a trustee for a Mental Health Charity. From here, other roles steadily evolved.

Fri 25 June 2021

Retirement? What Retirement?!

Phil reckons he retired too early. Whilst it did give him more time to enjoy his golf, he found that he missed the contact he'd had with so many people during his career as a Post Office Manager.

Wed 9 June 2021 

Forget Slimming Classes - Get Volunteering!

That's the view of Lesley who has lost well over 10lbs in weight since becoming a volunteer and, more incredibly, is now no longer suffering from diabetes. As far as Lesley is concerned, she is in absolutely no doubt that all the activity, as well as being on her feet with the volunteering work (not to mention being away from the house and the temptations of eating...) has led to a notable improvement in her health and mental well-being.

Weds 10 May 2021

Leaping out of Your Comfort Zone

Throughout the long winter months of lockdown, local Hertfordshire resident Lesley tried to keep herself busy. She bought herself , planned new home projects, and invested in some tapestry making kits and piano music. Although the lockdown was a wonderful opportunity for her to focus on self-development and fulfilling hobbies, she increasingly began to miss her friends and family, and felt an empty space where they should be.

Tues 27 April 2021

Terrific Telephone Befrienders

At the beginning of lockdown in March 2020, Alison found herself unexpectedly living on her own. The Nursery where she worked had closed and her Mum was self-isolating elsewhere. She felt a little lonely and wanted to find something to do to keep busy, as well as helping others in a similar situation. 

Weds 14 April 2021

Every Little Helps

As the true impact of coronavirus became increasingly real for the strained NHS, and families and individuals losing loved ones, many of you embarked on a quest to find something useful to do. Ann became a volunteer in May 2020, combining it with her work as an HNS medical secretary...

Thurs 1 April 2021

The Gift of Time

The lockdown has left many with a sudden quiet in their usually busy lives. There are hours of free time but not a lot of exciting things to fill it with! Many people have chosen to heed the collective call-to-arms and use their free time to volunteer, providing them with a sense of purpose and community.

Weds 24 March 2021

A Selfless Act

During the last year life has changed a lot for all of us, many of us facing incredibly difficult challenges and hardship. However, when we reflect on our communities, neighbours, friends and families, stories of selfless people and acts shine out like stars.

Tue 16 March 2021

First Out of the Gate

With an end to the restrictions getting tantalisingly close, feelings of hope and positivity are in the air. You may be making plans: to hug your loved ones, welcome new babies or pets, celebrate milestones reached during the lockdown, perhaps to even grieve those lost. Although the future is looking brighter, many people within our communities will continue to need our support...

Mon 1 March 2021

A Room with a View

Despite us all having unique stories to tell about our pandemic experience, we can all empathise with the feeling of being isolated and alone. We are only beginning to discover the true impact lockdown restrictions have on mental health, and the depth of loneliness they have caused in our communities.  

Tue 16 Feb 2021

All Hands to the Pump

Up and down the country people continue to take an ‘all hands to the pump’ approach to caring for vulnerable individuals in their communities. Volunteer organisations like Communities 1st, together with a wide range of local volunteer groups, have been beavering away silently and regularly for months, providing much-needed care and support for those who are isolated or at-risk.

Wed 10 Feb 2021

Why Volunteer During Lockdown? 

What makes people volunteer? Volunteers might say they want to connect to the community, feel involved and make a difference. During the pandemic, these people really have been making a huge difference in our communities, beavering away silently and regularly for months to provide care and much-needed support to the vulnerable.

Fri 5 Feb 2021

Peggy and Amy's Story

The COVID-19 outbreak has caused undeniable sadness and hardship for many, but amidst the pain, you may have heard tales of kindness and selflessness that have lifted your spirits. The Compassionate Community Connector programme (run by Communities 1st)  relies on volunteers to support vulnerable and isolated people in the local area.