Sally Vincent has helped people her whole life in what could be described as personal, small-scale, non-newsworthy ways. It is who she is.
Why did you want to volunteer?
She’s never really thought of it as volunteering – just as being there for people if and when needed, in whatever way she can. Even before her 21 years as a probation officer, Sally helped out at the local Chichester church by giving lifts, chatting or simply listening.
In Eastbourne, her friendly dog Jessie was warmly welcomed at Homelea Care Home for five years – so much so that Jessie was eventually allowed to wander around freely, being stroked and loved by residents happy to see her. They even gave Jessie her own bowl of ‘tea’ and biscuits! With Jessie so adored and accepted, Sally was free to chat with or read to other residents.
More recently, after her own cancer experience – and even more so during Covid-19 – Sally has taken to helping out in her local Hailsham community. Not much she states, just the odd thing like befriending, companionship, walking dogs, shopping, gardening, driving people to hospital appointments, picking up prescriptions, sleeping over for security and even acting as executor for the occasional will!
What have you got from volunteering?
Sally has made some lovely friendships along the way, saying: “Not only do you make a difference to the lives of others, but to your own life, too. The ‘reward’ could be smiles, or thanks, or even just ‘knowing’ you’ve helped – but either way, it touches your heart and makes you feel good.”
Sally firmly believes that, generally, everybody can help someone. And, like Sally, the good news is that you don’t always have to join a formal voluntary group or association – you just do it.