5 June 2017

National Volunteers' Week - Lynette's Story

Lynette has been volunteering at RBLI to support our thriving Health and Wellbeing Service, helping to reduce social isolation and provide information about active and healthy lifestyles. Lynette won RBLI’s Volunteer of the Year Award in 2016 and gives her time tirelessly to be able to support veterans and residents across the Royal British Legion Village in Aylesford.

“After 18 months of retirement from a senior career in social care, I began to feel that I had time in my week that I could use to really support those around me.

I started to explore what volunteering roles were available in my area and came across a poster calling for volunteers at RBLI. I arranged a visit and was thrilled by the variety of opportunities available. As my prior career had involved working with people I was keen to use these skills but perhaps with a different age group.

Whilst being shown around the village I met Maria Gallego, RBLI’s Community Health and Wellbeing Manager, and I realised that the work she was doing interested me and I felt I had something to offer. I started volunteering at the weekly coffee mornings at Queen Elizabeth Court, helping to provide a social interaction to some of the residents. I have continued doing this but now also help at the Bingo club and Cooking Support Group, which helps people understand how to cook healthy and nutritious meals. 

I have also had the opportunity to be able to volunteer on specific trips which are laid on for the community including trips to the seaside, river boat tours and outings to the theatre. One of my greatest moments from volunteering is when we took a group of individuals to a memory show, which focused on the music and entertainment of performer Glenn Miller. Throughout the performance one resident was so moved by the experience, and her tears really highlighted just how vital the support that we offer is. It made me glad that to be involved and be able to share that experience with her.

Maria and RBLI have given me the chance to use my passion for supporting and I am now independently running my own group once a fortnight, in the form of a tea and cake event which allows residents to meet socially and enjoy homemade cakes.

Volunteering at RBLI has enabled me to be busy and have a fulfilled life which I felt was lacking when I retired. I have felt so welcomed and supported not only by the staff but all of the beneficiaries that I meet on a daily basis, and being able to give as much or as little time as I can has allowed me to really enjoy my time. 

My advice would be to someone considering volunteering at RBLI is come and look round and have an open mind, there is a role for most people and all will be welcome. You never know you may just find the perfect role for yourself as I have done.”