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COVID-19 Update from Father Hudsons Care

Volunteer Week 2020


At Father Hudson’s, we are blessed to have volunteers giving their time across the organisation to make a difference to the people we work with. Many of our services wouldn't be able to run without the input of volunteers, and other services are enhanced by their contributions. We are also lucky to have a dedicated team of volunteers in our board of trustees. They use their expertise and skills to help guide the organisation and move us forward.

We would like to thank all volunteers across the organisation, including those who are currently unable to volunteer and who are eager to come back. We are grateful for all you do.

Andy Quinn has recorded a special message for volunteers week which you can watch here.

Day Service says thanks

Karen McPherson, Manager of St Catherine’s Day Service, has passed on her thanks to volunteers Kristian cox and Diane Lees. She writes:

Since we have been closed, Diane has been regularly accompanying her husband, Colin, who has been redeployed to work in our garden. Diane helps water the garden and nurture the plants, helping it thrive for when our clients come back.

Kristian looks after our window boxes and does any odd jobs around the garden. Kristian built our window boxes a couple of years ago and replants them every year for us. He volunteers for any events that we have in day service and will always man the kitchen for us at our Christmas fayre.

We at Day Service would like to thank them both for their time that they give to us.

Volunteers help Young at Heart make a difference

Mark Porter, Young at Heart Project Manager, writes:

We want to thank all our volunteers for the help they have given to the Young at Heart project. We simply could not help those who are lonely and isolated without the help and dedication of our volunteers. Over the last 10 weeks, we have had to reshape our project to adapt to the Covid-19 crisis. Our volunteers have enabled us to do this. We are thankful for our existing volunteers and new volunteers who have stepped in to help us support those who are in need at this time.

We have a team of more than 140 kind-hearted and selfless people who volunteer their time to the Young at Heart Project in so many different ways. Thank you so much for your time, your loyalty and your dedication. We hope to see you again soon.

/media/news/library/debbie2.jpgDebbie Williams, Young at Heart

Hi, my name is Debbie and I am a volunteer for Young at Heart in Stoke-on-Trent. I started to think about volunteering as a bridge between going back into full time work. I have experience of nine years in the health and wellbeing community sector. I knew any volunteering roles I considered would need to enable me to use my experience, knowledge and skills with my local community. I had heard about Young at Heart through my previous job and how fantastic the social groups were in supporting their members.

I contacted Young at Heart and spoke with the group and volunteers co-ordinater, Pam. We discussed the opportunities available to me and a volunteer welcome pack was sent out to me to complete. I was then invited to attend the Fenton, Young at Heart social group. On attending my first group I was warmly welcomed by Pam who explained what I could help with and how the session would run. We chatted about my past experience, if I had volunteered before and any issues such as time or family commitments.

I thoroughly enjoyed my first session, and have continued to attend the group.

I feel volunteering for Young at heart has enabled me to utilise my core skills, fulfil my passion for putting something back into my community, feeling part of a caring team, increased my self-confidence, I feel productive in supporting the members at the groups, most of all I’ve made some great friends.

I believe my volunteering has also supported my invite to interview for a physical therapist within the NHS If anyone asks if volunteering was a good idea I would say YES! DO IT!

Volunteering during ‘lockdown’ with Young at Heart

“I initially thought that it would be incredibly difficult to try and build a relationship with somebody over the telephone due to the Covid-19 government guidelines but I was up to the challenge. Over the past couple of months, I have thoroughly enjoyed talking over the phone and making a new friend. I feel that doing this hasn’t just helped them but it has helped me too in countless ways and brought a smile to my face throughout this terrible period. This is something that comes naturally to me which I will continue to do post-pandemic, no matter how busy life gets. I am now looking forward to lockdown measures being eased so that I can befriend face-to-face!” EL

“I have found the telephone befriending service a very useful way to contribute towards 'taking care of each other' in our communities during the Covid-19 lockdown period. I was a bit apprehensive to start with, to get to know someone just over the phone and I worried whether I would have a problem understanding the other person if their accent was very different from mine. However, by staying mindful while conversing, my worries gradually ceased, and I look forward to my weekly chat with my befriendee.” LS

Thoughts on my time spent at Brushstrokes - By Jenny Hall, Volunteer Cook

It’s nearly five years since I started as a volunteer with Brushstrokes Community project. In those days it was at the back of St Philip church in Messenger Road – a small team under the guidance of Martin, the volunteer's coordinator started the community cafe, cooking food from Fareshare, an organisation which distributes excess food from local supermarkets and shops. We've now moved to bigger and better premises on Smethwick High street – so much more accessible for our clients and the kitchen is 100 times better! Although not perfect, it’s made life much easier.

Martin emails with the list of food donations on Thursday and, from this, we draw up the menu. Sometimes it’s quite a feast dependant on what we have been given. We are generally able to offer three main courses, a salad, fresh vegetables and there's always a vegetarian main meal. Pudding is often an enormous cake donated by Costco which everyone loves and fruit.

The cafe isn't just about feeding people it is somewhere everyone is welcome. It's not just the food there's friendship, laughter help and kindness on the menu too. So its closure due to the Coronavirus scare is a great disappointment to us all. Instead, I now help the Resources team pack bags and boxes of food which is distributed by volunteers to people in need in the local surrounds. It's great to know that real help is being given where it's needed.

/media/news/library/jenny-bluebells.jpgI'm very fortunate as I live within easy access of Sandwell Valley Country Park, an area of outstanding natural beauty which links Birmingham with Sandwell. It has both the M5 and 6 running through at one point – but you are only aware of this at certain times by the sound of the traffic, now almost silent. My daily exercise is a very long walk with my beautiful dog Clarabell (a rescued greyhound). This Spring has been one of the most beautiful that I have known – or maybe it seems that way as we move through these troubled times. The blossom on the trees, the spring flowers and the sound of bird song all seem more intense and so very beautiful. Sandwell Valley is to my mind a rather underused facility ...shhh don't tell everyone. It’s been so lovely to walk there with the few joggers and cyclist and other dog walkers I meet.

Just as soon as we can and it is safe we will reopen the kitchen for our normal Friday lunch, and there will be a great welcome and renewing of friendships. Until we meet again here are some pictures from my daily walks.

Stay safe and well, Jenny.

Claire, Hope Community Project, writes:

My name’s Claire and I have volunteered at Hope teaching Esol since last /media/news/library/hope-community.jpgSeptember.

While volunteering there I have met some amazing people who have helped and supported me. After a few months of volunteering I realised that teaching in further education was the career path I wanted to take. Since then I have been back to college and completed my Level 2 Maths and a Level 3 in Teaching and Education.

Volunteering at Hope has filled me with the confidence and ambition to push myself to be the best I can be.

It is not only the staff and other volunteers that have made my volunteering experience such a good one but also the men and women who attend our Esol classes, they have made me feel very welcome and they are so appreciative of the work we do with them. I hope to continue volunteering at Hope as soon as it is safe.

Bernard helps Domiciliary Care

Andrew Penny, Domiciliary Care Manager, writes:

I would like to say a big thank you to Bernard Doyle. At the moment Bernard is not working at St Vincent’s due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Bernard has been volunteering for two years at St Vincent’s. Bernard has worked with one of our tenants two to three days a week. Ever since Bernard has started to work with this particular tenant, I have seen the difference in the tenant’s personality. Mr F has become more confident, he enjoys socialising more, he loves working at St Joseph’s and being creative. Mr F calls Bernard a very special friend.

It just amazes how generous some people are in this world to give up their time to make a difference to someone else’s life!

Bernard, I thank you!


Ball Committee continue working behind the scenes

There might not have been a Ball this year, but the Father Hudson’s Ball Committee has still been busy behind the scenes. They team of volunteers (some of whom are pictured handing over last year’s donation to Rita Nag) have been contacting all the people who bought tickets to refund their monies and receiving donations towards the new piece of sensory equipment St Joseph’s wanted to buy.

They hope to be able to announce how much has been raised very shortly. We thank them for continuing to support us and raise funds for St Joseph’s despite the current situation.

Thank you

Although we can only feature a few stories in one newsletter, there are many volunteers making a difference across our projects and services. We are grateful to each and every one.


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