The Chantry team first met Ian in 2012 - a difficult time, as he was coming to terms with his diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. Ian joined the 10 week 5Rs Programme - despite his anxiety about what to expect. Each week, Ian socialised with the other attendees, and took part in the activities designed to Relax, Rebuild, Re-energise, Re-integrate and Regenerate.
Ian’s confidence slowly grew and he began to look into other activities at the Chantry. With the support of Estates Supervisor Lewis, Ian started volunteering in the gardens and on building maintenance, able to decide to do as much or as little as he felt he could on the day.
Ian then set up a community based social group to support others living with MS, started volunteering at his local Sue Ryder shop, and joined the Hadleigh Synergy Café, helping prepare lunch and set up the day’s activities. More recently Ian began volunteering in the Neurological Day Service, supporting activities and games, and he is now developing ideas to help expand the Café programme.
Ian always supports practical tasks - but it is his warm, caring and considerate nature that soon has him chatting with members and getting to know the group. He has a calm, reflective approach and is always mindful of people's emotions. A service user shared that “Ian brightens up the place. He understands how we are feeling, and you can say anything to Ian. We don’t just see Ian as a volunteer here... he is our friend now.”
The team feel incredibly lucky to have Ian on board and are thankful for all that he does!