Anyone of retirement age who is considering volunteering needs to know that donating just a small amount of your time can make a real difference to people’s lives. John Shannon was a runner-up for this year’s Britain’s Best Volunteer Award, and his commitment to a cause is a true lesson in citizenship.
John is 97 and cared for his wife, who was ill until 2008. Since then, John became an invaluable part of Supporting Older People – a scheme whereby volunteers visit full-time carers, and ease their burden in terms of much-needed social interaction.
John has assisted and supported six carers in the last two years, as well as designating time to a number of other charities – many of which are dedicated to finding the time to care for some of the more isolated members of our community. Prison visiting and the Red Cross have been two of John’s other chief concerns, and it’s easy to see why his compassion earned him the Markel accolade. Anna Woollven nominated Mr Shannon and said of him:
“John uses his own experience and empathy to make a difference to the people he supports. He is reliable, committed and dedicated to helping others, and also extremely good company.”
If you’re retired and you’re struggling to find a focus for your energies, why not give volunteering a go? You’ll find that it can be as rewarding for you as it is to the recipients of your work. Everyone has something to offer, and if a cause is close to your heart, you may find you have real talent in how you perform your tasks.
John was amongst four runners-up in Britain’s Best Volunteer – Catherine MacLennan, Roger Pratten and John Crawley – who also received an iPad Mini and £250 for their chosen charities.
Emma Hall won the main award for her work with Stepping Stones DS – a Down’s syndrome charity supporting more than 100 families in Berkshire, Hampshire and Surrey. Her efforts were recognised with a holiday voucher worth £1,000, and £1,250 to donate to the charities of her choice.