This week’s Project Spotlight focuses on a community project called Buddy Club. As our campus is located in the local area of Canley in Coventry, Warwick Volunteers are able to provide a wide variety of volunteering opportunities in the local community. One of those opportunities is at Willowbrook, an elderly people’s home.
Being an indoor project, the project prides itself on creating a warm and friendly environment where, once a week, the home is visited by 10-15 volunteers with the aim of befriending the residents. Volunteers spend time socialising with the residents by engaging in conversations and companionship.
What to expect?
Buddy club gives volunteers a chance to sign up for the one a week session held on Wednesdays for an hour and a half. Having transport provided for this unique opportunity makes attendance easier but also allows the volunteers to meet and chat beforehand.
This was evident from the excited chatter among the students. The Project Leaders Aneesa, Amy and Nicole greeted and made conversation with the volunteers describing their experiences and what to expect from the sessions.
On arrival, we made our way to the communal room; a big space with tables and chairs where the residents are either waiting or just entering and taking their seats. The volunteers were then encouraged to sit and spread themselves around the tables so that each student had the chance to speak with them.
The great thing about Buddy Club is how informal and friendly the environment is. This is so important for the benefit of the residents. Despite many new volunteers being understandably nervous about the meetings, the resident’s welcoming and warm personalities instantly put everyone at ease. The activities coordinator for Willowbrook; Sharon makes this even more possible by coming round, offering to make tea, and getting to know the volunteers.
During my last session I sat with one of the residents whom I spoke to frequently in the past year. The great thing about this was that she was not only interested in what I had been up to but also shared some of her own fascinating stories over the summer!
Why you should volunteer?
Aneesa who volunteered in her first year and is now one of the Project Leaders shared her thoughts and experiences on Buddy Club and why you should volunteer!
‘’Buddy Club is a great way to get involved! Not only do you get to interact with your fellow volunteers, but you get to meet some amazing people at the residential home. I am regularly inspired by some of the residents and the lives they have lead. My favourite part of Buddy Club is definitely hearing about the lives of the residents; and this is made even more worthwhile by the fact that they love having people to talk to and share things with. It’s very unusual for people of our age to get to interact with people of this age group, and I can honestly say that I think that it’s an awesome experience for everyone involved!‘’
This appreciation shown by the residents resonates during and after every session that I attended. Residents frequently tell me how much they look forward to us coming over, how it makes their days more enjoyable and importantly gives them something to look forward to during the week.
Buddy Club is definitely a great experience for both residents and volunteers, not only because it happens on Wednesday so it breaks up the week, it is on most people’s least busy day, but the length of the session allows all to make the most of their time together.
The brilliant thing about Buddy Club is that there is no need for a DBS check! All we want is volunteers who are friendly and willing to spare an hour and a half a week to spend time with the residents and make their day more enjoyable.
How can you get involved?
So visit the Warwick Buddy Club Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/warwickbuddyclub/
And the Warwick Volunteers Buddy Club Website: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/about/community/volunteers/volunteering/buddyclub/
Like our Warwick Volunteers FB page: https://www.facebook.com/WarwickVolunteers/
Sign Up 🙂