Intergenerational volunteering can change lives

During volunteer’s week, it’s important to recognise how volunteers have helped us. When we share the stories of volunteering it becomes obvious that volunteering really does change lives. Generations Working Together is particularly keen to celebrate intergenerational volunteers, those who go out of their way to help other generations. Every year at our Intergenerational Excellence Awards we have a category for the intergenerational volunteer of the year. This year Heather from Jaybees nursery in Dumfries and Galloway won the award. This is the story of how she became a volunteer and why intergenerational volunteering has the potential to make a huge difference.

Heather started volunteering with children at Jaybees Childcare in Lochmaben after a staff member spotted her out in the community and talked about a possible opportunity to volunteer with children. Heather has raised her own children and had time to help out. Initially, they agreed on a visit to the nursery with an idea that this might be short term. From the first visit, it was clear that Heather was great with nursery children and she started coming every week to do a range of activities, including songs, walks, and more.

Jaybees put Heather forward for the award to recognise her contributions within the team. The team at Jaybees said of Heather: “Heather is a huge part
of the children’s experience at Jaybees and she embraces our ethos in the ‘hive’, coming on forest adventures, walks to feed the ducks, doing our Smiley Miley– the list is endless.” The generational benefits of this kind of project are clear to see and as a result of this, Heather has also felt a newfound sense of purpose and appreciation that she was being valued for her volunteering, rather than being defined by early-onset dementia. The children now await Heather’s visits with excitement and have even started a book of her sayings called ‘Heatherisms’.

Please follow updates about Heather and Jaybees Nursery on their facebook page.

3rd June 2020