Lesley has been involved with Carers Support since 2003 and on our Trustee Board for eight years.
As a qualified midwife she also has a post graduate diploma in management studies. Lesley’s career has been in the health and social care sector based mainly at Crawley Hospital.
Volunteering comes in many forms and like those of us who have time to volunteer, we do so for a variety of reasons.
My working life was in the NHS so like many others who retire I wanted to use the skills I had learnt and to do something useful with my spare time. Others prefer to volunteer by raising money through sponsorship and doing extreme feats of athleticism or bravery. Others give their time in face to face contact with clients of charities they have an affinity with. Whatever the reason, volunteering is the most worthwhile thing you can do . You meet a whole new set of friends, it keeps body and mind active and helps with personal well being. It has been proven that volunteering extends peoples life expectancy because socialising is so good for you.
Carers are all volunteers, but when caring for a friend or a family member your caring role is something very different. You don’t have a choice and many of you will care selflessly for a very long time. Such devotion is something that the rest of us admire and wish to give you as much support as possible to fulfill your role.
You could feel the empathy between them even at this first meeting.
I love going out and meeting carers and listening to their stories. Sometimes their stories are sad but mostly they are really uplifting and it make me feel so humble to have met such devoted and loving people. Recently I visited a new support group set up in Copthorne village. It was a mixed group both in age and in the caring roles they were undertaking. They freely shared their stories within the group, all knowing it was in confidence and not to be repeated outside the room. You could feel the empathy between them even at this first meeting. I am sure they will bond into a really supportive unit very quickly. There are 54 support groups running throughout the county, some are for specific conditions and some are more general. Many have volunteers helping in the groups making the tea and talking to the carers.
We have five new Trustees joining the exisitng 11 Trustees at Carers Support ,which makes up our board. They are all willing giving their time to enrich our charity with their skills. Three of our new Trustees attended our last board meeting and are already coming back with how they can use their skills to help carers. They all wish to be actively involved in the charities aims and they are really keen to get involved and learn all about our services. They have all been carers hence they chose Carers Support West Sussex as they have an immediate empathy and understanding of the caring role
I have also recently met with the Chair of Crossroads another charity that helps carers throughout the county. We work closely with several charities who provide services to carers such as the British Red Crosss, Age UK and the Alzeimers Society.
I continue to learn new things every day. I have met some amazing people and I have made many new friends from all walks of life that I would not have met if I had never volunteered.
Next year will be my 20th anniversary as a volunteer. For me volunteering has been a wonderful experience, I continue to learn new things every day. I have met some amazing people and I have made many new friends from all walks of life that I would not have met if I had never volunteered. Why not come and join in the experience of volunteering by checking on our website or ringing 030002888888.