Meet volunteers Justin and Alex
“Until last year I was commuting into London every day into the city and eventually decided that I’d had enough of the 5:30am start and decided to set up my own consultancy. At the same time, I applied to become a volunteer at Sobell House, and I was very pleased to be interviewed to join the team of volunteers as this had been on my mind and something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. Last summer, after the first lockdown, I was lucky enough to join the volunteering team and haven’t looked back since.
I’ve been volunteering in the reception at Sobell House. This has meant I’ve been able to greet relatives and friends as they come in and visit their loved ones, making sure they know where to go and generally helping the lovely team who work there. It’s sometimes daunting coming into Sobell House for the first time, but once you’ve been there you realise what a lovely relaxed and friendly place it is.
I’m also a Sobell Companion, and chat to a lovely lady on the phone every couple of weeks. Whilst we’ve been in lockdown it can be quite lonely and the Day Services at Sobell House is currently closed due to restrictions from the pandemic, so it’s great to be able to keep in touch with some of our patients in this way.
Sadly, I’m not able to work at Sobell right now because of the recent lockdown but hopefully it won’t be long before I get to return and catch up with the fantastic people who work there. For me personally, I’m so pleased to be working as a volunteer. It’s everything I hoped it would be, and more”.
“As the pandemic hit in 2020, Sobell House closed its Day Centre doors to patients and volunteers. How long it would be closed nobody knew, and I missed my Wednesdays in Sobell. I started volunteering over thirteen years ago and it’s a big part of my life.
And then a few months later a glimmer of hope that Sobell day services would continue with the introduction of telephone Sobell Companions, what a good idea! I was keen to get started…
I have to admit I was a bit nervous before my first call but once a rapport is established it can be very rewarding talking to people about anything really which can be sad or funny and everything in between.
One of my companions was a lovely gentleman of ninety-six and we had a pre-arranged time and day when I’d phone and he’d always answer ‘Hello Alex from Rose Hill, how are you my dear?’. Only one day I found his phone engaged and he later told me of his embarrassment as a very deep voice answered!
Remote services are brilliant and have bridged the gap but I look forward to the day when I can walk back into the Day Centre and meet patients and volunteers face-to-face once again”.