Welcome back to our LiveArgyll staff volunteering Blog where this week, we meet up with Joanna Finlay our Senior Sports Coach who is volunteering while she is currently on Furlough.
Hi Jo! It’s good to hear from you. How are you getting on during lockdown?
At the moment I’m at home with my parents, my sister and our three dogs. The dogs can’t believe their luck as they are being walked each day much longer than normal as we each make use of our daily exercise. Overall I’m keeping well and keeping busy helping elderly neighbours in my street.
That’s great to hear – tell us a bit about why you considered volunteering Jo, and what your volunteering role involves.
I volunteered because I wanted to help the local community and those who aren’t able to get out for themselves as well as keeping myself busy through this difficult time.
My volunteering role as a Befriender involves contacting vulnerable people who are isolating at home alone or who are not able to get out on their own due to mobility or disability issues. I contact them by phone and have a wee chat about anything they want to talk about.
Alongside this I have been helping out with my elderly neighbours. Firstly I find out what shopping they require then I go to our local supermarket where I have to queue regularly, although I’m now getting to know the best times to go to avoid queuing as much. It has been difficult at times to buy certain items although people are aware of this. In this past week supplies have been easier to come by, which has been great. Once I’ve got the shopping I deliver it directly my neighbours’ doorsteps for them to collect.
In the last few weeks I’ve been helping my Gran around her garden. This has led me to helping other elderly neighbours with gardening work that they are not able to do themselves, too. I am currently cutting grass, planting, power washing and painting.
Wow Jo, you’ve been really busy! Can you tell us about the highlights of your volunteering experience so far?
Befriending was difficult at the beginning, as I was starting a new relationship with another person over the phone which was an unnatural situation for me. Now, having built relationships, I actually look forward to this social interaction.
Volunteering during this difficult time has been very rewarding especially when I drop off my neighbours shopping or finish something for them in the garden as they appreciate everything I am doing for them.
What advice would you give to others who would like to volunteer in the way that you have?
It’s been great to be involved with the community and being able to help people close to home. My advice to anyone who needs help and support, would be to contact the Council Caring for People Helpline. https://www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/coronavirus-help-and-advice
If you would like volunteer your time, have a look here for more information about the roles that are currently available: