students volunteer with residents at Hillside

Volunteering helps give care and nursing home residents that extra connection with the outside world, which is why MHA was delighted to host young future leaders from as far as Honduras, Indonesia, Ecuador, Nigeria, Malaysia, Pakistan, Turkey and Indonesia to give them an insight into civil society in the UK in partnership with the Foreign Office.

Chevening is the UK Government’s international awards scheme aimed at developing global leaders of the future and 18 of the 2018/19 cohort spent time at MHA Hillside nursing home in Aylesbury volunteering with residents and helping with garden maintenance.

For Hillside manager Grianna Wokes, it was an incredible experience for the home and she explain the difference the young people made to the home on the day they visited.

She said: "Our residents often don’t see people other than their families and carers so it was an opportunity for them to engage with everyday people in social settings. Without the volunteers, the residents would not have had the opportunity to do things such as go in to the town for shopping trips.

"Having the young people in Hillside also changed the atmosphere - it was buzzing! The residents really enjoyed having people to chat to. Some of our residents have quite complex needs and experience communication difficulties but the young people did an amazing job of spending time with them."

As well as the residents and staff getting a lot out of the volunteering day, the scholars also had a great time joining residents in activities, taking them shopping, clearing the gardens and just spending time with them.

Scholar Sara said: "My experience of interacting with the residents was very emotional and heart-warming. It was absolutely beautiful and I am glad I came to be a part of their day."

Filly added: "It was one of the most meaningful experiences I have had in the UK. The residents are really beautiful and lovely people, the strongest I have ever seen in my life – they spread positivity!"

The young people left Hillside having both gained an insight into the invaluable work of MHA and also discussing how they could replicate the type of care they experienced for older people in the UK in their own respective countries.

Chevening Programme Officer Suraj Darbar helped organise the volunteering at Hillside. He said: "All the young people who took part had an amazing and rewarding experience. It is immensely important for the scholars to take part in volunteering like this.

"We want them to take back to their own countries a sense of having immersed themselves in to the social culture, to have given back to the community and for them to get to see all aspects of the UK. It’s been an extremely inspirational day."

We have now agreed with Chevening to officially partner with them on this annual volunteering scheme and who knows, maybe when these extraordinary young people step into the powerful positions that are expected from them we may find pockets of learning from MHA Hillside being replicated from Honduras to Jakarta. Watch this space…

Why not volunteer in an MHA care home too? Learn more by visiting the Volunteering section >>

Manage your cookie preferences

We use cookies to enhance your browsing experience and provide additional functionality. Learn more about how we use cookies on this website.