‘There’s this saying that when you volunteer here you become part of the Crossroads family, and I believe that’s true.’ Volunteer, Heather Mathew, talks about why volunteering for Crossroads Care is so rewarding…
‘When both my parents, who lived in Norfolk, became ill – my father with dementia — it soon became clear to me that there was no support available to them, even though they were barely coping at home. I found myself trying to look after them from a distance, battling with the authorities to get them what they were entitled to, whilst watching my parent’s independence and ability to care for themselves dwindle away.
‘Motivated by the lack of care available to my parents and my desire for other people in my situation to not feel so alone, I started volunteering five years ago for Crossroads Care at the Caring Café for Carers looking after people with dementia and their cared-for.
‘Volunteering at the café, amongst people who understood, helped me to cope with what my family were going through. I found it hugely helpful to be able to give my time to make a difference to families experiencing what we were.
‘I finally managed to get my parents into a small, supportive care home and happily, we celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary there. My father stood up to make a speech and the Care Home put on a lovely party – it was such a contrast to the horrific ten months they’d endured alone at home, and it is a memory that has given me great comfort since I lost both of them three years ago.
‘I continued volunteering with Crossroads right through the pandemic, making calls to vulnerable people as well as delivering shopping to people who were self-isolating.’
‘There’s this saying that when you volunteer here you become part of the Crossroads family, and I believe that’s true. At Crossroads, volunteers feel valued; you get training and the charity is very supportive. It’s been a very positive experience for me.
‘It’s such an important thing for Carers and the people they care for to come together and socialise, and facilitating that is a great privilege. To see our guests, laugh, relax and enjoy themselves is a wonderful thing, and I always leave a café session feeling happy and fulfilled.
‘Volunteering is essential to my life. It’s a form of self care — laughter, friendships, belonging, community — and I would recommend it to anyone. Find a cause that you care about, where you feel your skills and interest can make a difference, and get involved. You won’t regret it.’
If you would like to volunteer at one of our projects, do get in touch with us.