Timebanking helped Anna look outward

Former librarian Anna was worried that, once she retired, she’d miss the bustle and interest of her job, and all the people she worked with and helped during her working day.
And although, as a talented artist and gardener with many friends, she knew she wouldn’t be short of things to do in retirement, she felt it was important to do something for her community. “There is always a slight concern that you might become lonely as you get older,” said Anna, from Stroud. “So I decided to look outwards, rather than retreat.”A chance meeting in the town with Chris Moore from Fair Shares – a regular visitor to the library where Anna once worked – has opened up a new world for her through Fair Shares. “I went to a couple of Fair Shares meetings where we talk about projects we could get involved with,” said Anna. “They mentioned a sheltered housing complex where volunteers were needed to befriend some of the residents. I started going there regularly and got to know some of the residents and then began helping out their volunteer warden – and it all snowballed!” Since then, Anna has helped organise trips for residents, and, with her friend and fellow Fair Shares volunteer Pat, gets involved with singing sessions at the complex.

Helping out at The Beeches has led in turn to leading a series of dementia-friendly walks held over the summer months, meeting at Stroud’s Museum in the Park. “The idea of the walks came from the Dementia Adventure initiative in Essex,” said Anna. “Fair Shares organised two training sessions and first aid training and we worked together to plan the walks for older people and those with dementia to enjoy. “It has been wonderful helping people and their carers get outdoors for a change for a gentle stroll, with the sun on their faces and even the odd drop of rain – we often find ourselves singing together! Sometimes people get stuck inside in their own homes, or in a care home, and forget what it’s like to smell the flowers and feel the breeze.”

Anna is happy to volunteer for all sorts of Fair Shares projects. “I like the whole principle of Fair Shares, doing something for your own community,” she added.

“What I also like is that I can balance my volunteering with enjoying my garden, painting and meeting friends. Fair Shares has opened up a whole new world of friendship, with no chance of ever being lonely!”

 

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