Hello my name is Sue and I volunteer with Carers Leeds. Here’s how I got started …

“Some 4 years ago I was approaching retirement with some trepidation. Having worked for 23 years in the NHS in a very busy job that I loved and previously being a working carer, I was concerned about suddenly having no structure to my days and no longer any excuses for not doing the housework!

Then ….… I met Val! I was introduced to her at a colleague’s leaving party and even after a very brief conversation went away inspired by her warmth and obvious passion for her organisation and the work that it does.

A few months later, I started my induction and training as a reception volunteer, usually doing one day a week. It is a really interesting role – meeting lots of very different people, talking to them in reception or on the phone, undertaking some admin tasks and having the chance to be part of a really warm and welcoming group of people who make me feel valued and that I have a part to play.

More recently I had the opportunity with Nikki to train as a befriender which I love, meeting a carer in a variety of places of her choosing – the local tarn, parks/gardens or cafes, getting an understanding of the challenges she faces as a full time carer for 2 close relatives.  I feel that I have gained as much, if not more, from this contact than my befriendee and feel quite humbled by her consistently positive outlook despite the stresses of her caring role.

I have started helping in the Dementia Hub, making welfare calls on a monthly basis to carers who are looking after someone with dementia. Most of the carers are very appreciative of someone taking the time to ring to see how they are and, whilst not needing a Carer Support Worker at that moment, do find it helpful to talk to someone and share their concerns and frustrations.

I also go along once a month to a support group for carers looking after someone with dementia, making refreshments and chatting to people.

My 3 years at Carers Leeds have been a real pleasure, thanks to the brilliant team of staff and volunteers, the ongoing training and regular support that are offered and the frequent thank you letters, cards and events that are provided for us volunteers.”

Sue Whitehead