Hi, my name is Gwen McClafferty, and I would like to share with you my journey to becoming a Volunteer and then Chair for Surrey Heath Age Concern.
I had retired from work in the middle of 2016 and one day as I was walking into town, I came across the Rainbow Café and their notice for Volunteers. I popped in to chat to the Manager, had a chat, completed an application form and was offered a shift in the Café on a Tuesday morning. Once I received training, I started my regular weekly slot working alongside the amazing Kirsty and Zoe. It was a busy shift, but I thoroughly enjoyed my work with the ladies and meeting our customers. I was struck by how happy and chatty all our customers were, they really enjoyed the very friendly atmosphere in the Café. After several months I decided that I needed to do more to help this very worthy charity. I visited the SHAC website and learned how much the Charity supports the elderly and lonely within the Borough. I had already helped with the Tea and Memories in the Café that’s run on a Tuesday afternoon and seen first-hand how much happiness the camaraderie that brings; but there is also a Tea & Chatter service, where the less able members of our clients are picked up by volunteer drivers to be taken to volunteer hosts that give up their time to provide Afternoon Tea and the opportunity for making friends and chatting. There is also the amazing Visiting and Befriending service offered with all the Befriendees being a group of very lovely Volunteers. Having read the story about the Charity and all of its activities to help our vulnerable elderly people in the community I decided I had to apply to become a Trustee. I had hoped that my years of experience in Banking/ Business world would be of some use to the Charity. I was invited to a few meetings with the Charity Manger and following those discussions I decided to put my name forward to the Board of Trustees. I was invited to join a Trustee meeting where there would be a vote on my joining which, thankfully, was approved. I was very happy to join a band of like-minded people with the same aims of working, promoting and fundraising for the charity. I was very humbled to be voted in as Chair of the Charity at the end of 2019 when the then Chair, the Rev Christopher Russell, decided to step aside. I am sure that along with the hard-working Trustees and myself we will keep our Charity growing and supporting more of our elderly in the Community.