Jim's story

"A chance to give something back"

For 32 years Jim cared for his wife after she suffered a stroke. Now he is a much loved member of the volunteer activities assistants team.

“It would appear that I had known about Sue Ryder for at least 40 years. My wife used to like visiting the shops and I understood in doing so we were supporting a very worthwhile cause.

I am 75 years old and I have a managerial financial background. My wife was very ill from an early age. She suffered from a stroke and was partially paralysed which seriously affected her health and well-being. I have lived in Suffolk for 10 years and unfortunately my wife's health deteriorated considerably in this time and she passed away on the 25 August 2013.

I was the wife's main carer for 32 years and during difficult times I constantly sought help from Sue Ryder Chantry Park for support in the form of advice and signposting. I owed a lot to Chantry Park in this time, as when times were bad there was always a cheerful informative voice at the other end of the line.

I considered, once I was living on my own, that I would try to pay back the support I had received from Sue Ryder in seeking a position as a volunteer - which would also give me the opportunity to spend my time in a useful way.

A place of happiness and peace

My first step was to visit Sally, Sue Ryder Voluntary Services Coordinator, who explained the various roles available and showed me round Chantry Park, explaining the various functions in a precise yet friendly manner. I was immediately taken up by the sense of dedication and cheerful manner of the people I met.
My next step was to have an interview with Sally and Alana, the lady in charge of services, when I explained my previous experience and the roles which held the most attraction to me. Sally and Alana conducted the interview in a friendly and professional manner and I was most impressed.

The role I undertook was in the Day Centre as an activities assistant and on the first morning I met my colleagues Rachael, the lead, Chris and Donna. I found these ladies to be extremely capable and always willing to offer advice and practical help to me.

 It became obvious to me after a short while my colleagues had a special relationship with our clients, brought about by their obvious care and regard for people living with dementia, and they were also very popular with the carers who fully appreciated their kind manner.

The impression I obtained from the Chantry Park Day Centre is that a really happy atmosphere was produced, which created a nice peaceful harbour for people travelling through the journey of dementia.

Making new connnections

I have met some very interesting people during my time at the Day Centre – a WW2 pilot who readily recollects the events and personalities of this war when I perused a book with him, a gentleman who was a member of a pop group and is a wizard with quizzes, and a lady who loves to dance and who everybody loves for her kind cheerfulness.

I can state that working at the Day Centre at Chantry Park has helped me through a very difficult period of my life, and I have gained a great deal of satisfaction in developing and nurturing skills that I had no idea I possessed.

I would advise anyone who seeks life fulfillment and a feeling of self-satisfaction to contact Sally at Chantry Park. You will not be disappointed.”

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