Volunteering during the pandemic – Samra Azeem, Plumstead Manor School

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The pandemic has hit volunteering in many organizations and charities hard. The services were closed and were offered on online platforms such as ZOOM. Different dementia charities have had to make changes in the way they deliver their services, which has had a huge impact on the lives of people with dementia and their families. I reached out to Brenda, who has volunteered with dementia charities for over 9 years, to get some insight into the impact of Covid19 on the process of caring for people with dementia and the impact of support they receive. Dementia affects a person and their family in all aspects of their lives.

When asked if there were any downsides to volunteering online, Brenda said she had never used any online services before and received help getting things right. in place. “I followed the directions for co-hosting zoom sessions, letting people in, and supporting the host when the host was sharing the screen and couldn’t see the customers. Another problem was that it was difficult to talk to each other and we all had to wait for one of them to finish which made it difficult for people to naturally have a conversation so you would, as opposed to face to face “.

Likewise, in response to Brenda’s opinion on whether the transition to face-to-face sessions would be difficult, it was said that “For some people it has been difficult to come back to the sessions. face to face. Some people initially had apprehensions, had a certain anxiety but then settled down ”. Not only did the volunteers have to get used to the online sessions, they were then faced with the hassle of transitioning to the in-person groups. Covid19 urged people to be “more careful and kept them from going out. They were afraid to go out and this affected their mobility as well as their mental capacities and made them worse ”. Indeed, some people worsened their illness because they could not meet their family, their friends, the people present in the group sessions or receive the appropriate medical help.

I also asked if Brenda preferred to volunteer at home, to which she replied “No, I prefer to see people in person, it’s much better for people to see each other”.

Finally, I asked ‘Do you think it would be beneficial for volunteering in the future to be digital? “. “Not at the moment because in the next few years, maybe 20/30 years, everyone will be proficient in computers, and right now a lot of older people don’t use it and want to be with someone in person. “.

Despite all of these challenges, Brenda is keen to continue volunteering and supporting others; not to allow Covid19 to change its opinion about volunteering or supporting loved ones – “I love being with people”.


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