Why I volunteer for Alive

David James has been volunteering with Alive for six months, helping with our Growing Support Social and Therapeutic Horticulture workshops.


Developing skills

“After retiring from an engineering career, I wanted to develop my skills in dementia care in tribute to my late mother and aunt who suffered memory problems in later years. Mum was a voluntary respite carer with people living with dementia, so I have some catching up to do. Volunteering for Alive seemed like a perfect way to do this.

When I started doing the sessions I thought I was doing ok, then the Alive Facilitator said that the lady that had been chatting and laughing with me on my first session was usually agitated and withdrawn. I was delighted that such a small effort on my behalf was having such immediate benefits!


Mutually beneficial 

I gain so much from being a volunteer, as social isolation is a problem whether you live in a residential home, retire from a hectic career, or are made redundant; so I really do get as much out of the sessions as the participants do. I also love hearing their stories: a WW2 RAF rear gunner, a nurse who served at Dunkirk, and an amazing Jamaican mother of twelve are some of the standout conversations I enjoyed.

The volunteer induction was a great way to meet the team, and learn the knowledge, skills and values to help us in our sessions. Everyone is always looking to improve and share best practice, so the periodic volunteer training sessions are very useful.

I would strongly recommend this kind of volunteering, because for a few hours of your time every month, you can provide such a tangible and immediate improvement to people’s lives. You also get to meet a whole new group of wonderful people you otherwise would not have known.

This volunteering has developed and built on my communication skills. On my CV or in interviews I can say I have become a better listener, and that is a bonus in any walk of life.”


Get involved 

If you're interested in becoming an Alive Social and Therapeutic Gardening volunteer, then please see our vacancies page for our latest opportunities.