Residents at Burnworthy House in South Petherton have been tirelessly knitting for months to produce blankets to donate to the Cats Protection League to ensure the animals are warm in cold weather spells.
The idea came after they donated blankets and pom-poms to the RSPCA in the winter to provide warmth and entertainment for the puppies and kittens.
Each week 10-15 residents take part in the knitting group with help from Claire Davis, Activity Co-ordinator and Gwen Trott, a resident’s daughter.
Karen Roberts, Manager of Burnworthy House, said “The Nifty Knitters has become a very popular activity in the home, attracting more residents to join since it first started last year. It has become a social occasion for the ladies and gentlemen who take part as they enjoy refreshments, a good chat and sometimes a singsong whilst they are busy knitting. In the warmer weather, everyone sits outside and chats about their memories of summer holidays, where they have been and family occasions.”
Sophie Pettler has kindly offered to answer some questions about her volunteer work.
Sophie is 17 years old and is currently studying at a local sixth form for her A Levels, in her spare time she volunteers at Greenhill House in Cheddar.
How long have you volunteered at Greenhill House?
“I started volunteering in July 2011.”
Why did you chose to volunteer for Somerset Care?
“I chose to volunteer for Somerset Care primarily to develop better skills working with people of different ages and levels of health as this relates to my aspirations to become a Doctor. I continue to come weekly, not just for this reason but because I find spending time at Greenhill House enjoyable, rewarding and a worthwhile way to spend an afternoon.”
What tasks do you undertake while volunteering?
“When I first started I introduced myself and sat in the lounge chatting to the residents, occasionally playing scrabble or helping out with daily activities. More recently I have been trying to make myself more useful by helping to prepare the tea and anything else that needs doing. With time the residents started to recognise me and I am aware who may like to chat and where to find them. My confidence has increased which has helped me a lot!”
Why do you think volunteers are important to the care sector?
“Volunteers are important as an extra support to staff and carers who work incredibly hard but are often very busy. It is also important to have fresh faces for the residents; it’s nice for them to chat with someone different who can encourage them to share stories from their life.”
What do you enjoy most about being a volunteer?
“One thing I enjoy about being a volunteer is when you know that you are appreciated by a resident. It may be that they just appreciate a short chat or you have helped them to find something or brought them a cup of tea, but it is nice to know you are there being helpful. Another thing I admire, especially as a potential medical student, is the phenomenal ages some of the residents have reached, and in such good health. Working at Greenhill House has further inspired me in my hopes to be a Doctor, showing me the difference modern medicine has made in improving people’s lives.”
Thank you to Sophie for taking the time to give everyone an insight into being a volunteer in the social care industry.