Anyone of retirement age will know that you have plenty of time and a lot of good intentions, but often nowhere to focus your energies. If this sounds like you, why not take some time to read the inspirational tale of John Shannon and his exploits as a volunteer, which earned him the award of runner-up at the Britain's Best Volunteer Awards 2014.
Britain’s Best Volunteer Award is run by Markel UK and the Small Charities Coalition. It’s designed to acknowledge the work of some of Britain’s most compassionate people, who give their time to a good cause for no fee.
John Shannon is 97 years old and cared for his wife for a number of years until 2008. During that time, he himself was greatly comforted by the Carer’s Time Off scheme, which meant a support worker would visit John and alleviate the sense of isolation which can come with caring.
John has always been involved in the voluntary sector with schemes such as the Rotarians, the Red Cross, prison visiting and a lot of important work organised by his local church. His work for organisations such as the Harrogate Easier Living Project who run Supporting Older People and Carer’s Time Off, is a prime example of how you can transfer your knowledge to volunteer work.
John was amongst a list of four runners-up in Britain’s Best Volunteer, which included Catherine MacLennan, Roger Pratten and John Crawley. Their efforts were acknowledged with an iPad Mini and £250 for the charities of their choice.
The winner, Emma Hall, a founder of Stepping Stones DS and also a volunteer, won a £1,000 holiday voucher and £1,250 for the charities of her choice.
Anyone who belongs to a Small Charity, a Community Group, or a Not for Profit Organisation, could be nominated for an award.
We all strive to be good citizens, and it’s these real life acts of kindness which really make an impact on people’s lives. This can be on a grand scale like Emma Hall or John Shannon, or it can be just a couple of hours a week.
If you’re retired, volunteering can be a good way to maintain a sense of purpose, focusing your vital energies and talents. Just because you’re not at ‘work’ doesn’t mean you can’t be working towards even more important goals.
People enter the voluntary sector for a number of reasons, and there are a million good causes crying out for your help.