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June 1-7 is Volunteers Week, seven days dedicated to those people who give their time freely, and that is a priceless gift. We could not put a value on the 4,000 volunteers who enhance our staff’s important work, so we were very glad when the Queen stepped in.

MHA was one of just 60 recipients of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Volunteering Award. As a result, two volunteers – Sandra Clack of Stones Place in Lincoln and Roy Pritchard of Hall Grange in Shirley, Surrey – have just met Her Majesty at St James’s Palace, representing thousands of equally invaluable people.

Volunteering is a major element of our partnership with the Church; many, including Sandra and Roy, are local church members. We offer Chaplaincy services in all residential settings and some volunteers, like Sandra, assist in providing this spiritual support; for example, by helping with worship. Our Live at Home schemes have been described as ‘lifelines’ by members, and these are delivered almost entirely by volunteers.

Yet there is no such thing as a “typical” MHA volunteer. They range from teenagers to pensioners, and they are befrienders, fundraisers, drivers, entertainers, activity organisers and more. What they do have in common is a passion for MHA’s dedication to enabling older people to live fulfilled lives in the way they choose, and a selfless, generous nature that inspires them to give their time and skills as gifts. An accolade from the Queen, and a week dedicated to their appreciation, is the very least they deserve.

Rev Dr Keith Albans
Director – Chaplaincy and Spirituality

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