Sunday morning arrived and I rushed to retrieve my scones from the oven.
It was the first time I’d made them and I was a bit nervous about how they’d be received. I was also a little nervous about what was expected of me during the afternoon to come.
But this story goes back a lot further than Sunday morning.
The New Year brought in some fresh thinking and some big ideas for Hireserve, and one of these was to create a Hireserve Charity of the Year initiative.
We’d previously supported local education initiatives and undertaken a pro bono project with Poole CVS to create the The Volunteer Pool. But for 2017, we wanted to take our company philanthropy to the next step.
It was important to us to choose a cause that the Hireserve team were really invested in. So, after a team vote, we named Contact the Elderly as our Charity of the Year.
Supporting hundreds of elderly people across the UK, and with two local groups in Basingstoke, we couldn’t be more thrilled to be supporting such a great cause.
The work Contact the Elderly do is essential.
Through the work of kindhearted volunteers, the charity runs monthly tea parties for local elderly people, who may be living alone and without family close by, to give them a chance to meet others and socialise for the afternoon. For many, this can be a real lifeline.
“You have no idea what it means to me. I’m beginning to feel human again… It makes me feel as if I belong to a family. I’ve lived alone for over 40 years and miss all my friends and relatives so much. Bless you all for your kindness and thought for those who are all alone.” Peggy, 81
The generosity of volunteers is relied upon to make these events happen. Guests are picked up from their houses by volunteer drivers, and people take it in turns to host each month. Of course plenty of tea, scones and sandwiches are provided. But perhaps the most important role a volunteer can play is making the guests feel welcome, and creating a space for them to relax and socialise.
Fast-forward to Sunday, and Hireserve’s first tea party is in full swing.
The tea is flowing, the sandwiches and cakes are disappearing, and there’s a wonderful buzz in the office from the sounds of chatter and laughter.
Whatever I had to be nervous about, I need not have been worried. Everyone was incredibly friendly, and there was no shortage of people more than willing to get stuck into a good conversation!
The other Hireserve volunteers and I spent the afternoon making tea, clearing plates, bringing out food, and of course talking to the guests – all of whom were brilliant company. 5:30 pm came in an instant, and once the guests left to be driven home, we restored the Hireserve office to its normal state (which took no time at all with the number of helpers).
After the tea party, I was left with a warm feeling.
Not only did I feel like I’d done something worthwhile for people in need during those few hours on Sunday afternoon, but I also genuinely felt as though I’d taken something away from it too. Hearing about their lives, their stories and their families really was a delight for me too.
And, as an added bonus, the scones went down a treat!
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