Volunteering at Age Concern (http://www.ageconcernlambeth.org.uk/)

This blog has been mainly about fun stuff to do, especially bars and restaurants, but perhaps it’s main purpose is to examine how self-fulfilling and self-centred our lives are in London, and the fact that to be truly happy (in a religious or spiritual sense), it might be necessary to sacrifice your own personal enjoyment – at times – for the greater good of others.  Otherwise our lives are pretty meaningless are they not?  I note that Maya Angelou is reported as saying: “Be certain that you do not die without having done something wonderful for humanity (http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/nov/14/maya-angelou-interview).

I have ideas for fundraising – especially giving unwanted clothes, books, shoes, bags, etc (which we all have in abundance, ebay anyone?) to hostels or secure centres for those who need it – but until I find the right venue (and I have an idea that I need to build on), I wanted to find another opportunity to help out.

So, I’ve contacted Age Concern Lambeth to ask about befriending opportunities.  I have always been especially upset when I see old and vulnerable people on their own, perhaps because of my sadness at the vulnerability of members of my own family, and perhaps because of the love I had for my grandparents.  Either way, it makes me sad to think you can live your whole life, fight in wars, bring up children, and then be left on your own to care for yourself.  I don’t think they need the basics – social workers and carers should have that covered – but I do think that the need for human contact, conversation, love, is something that everybody needs.  In any case, I’d be fascinated to hear stories from the past or just be there to natter. 

They ask for 1-2 hours a week, especially 9am-5pm on a weekday.  This of course is problematic with my job, but I wondered if I could help at the weekends or early mornings.  I will report back on how this goes and any other volunteering opportunities that come my way.  In the meantime, if you want to donate, please do so here: http://www.ageconcern.org.uk/AgeConcern/donate.asp.

UPDATE:  My application for befriending is being considered and I have a two hour interview (yikes!) scheduled for March.  I don’t know how I will be able to fit volunteering around my full time job and busy evenings and weekends, but I feel like this could be a real life changing, wonderful thing and I’m hoping I can get started!

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