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Why don't YOU volunteer?

If you've already discovered the delights of volunteering, then I'm preaching to the converted, but in my experience, many, many people seldom if ever volunteer for anything. I've ALWAYS volunteered - all my life. It's a habit now and quite simply something that I couldn't live without.

At my first Infant and primary school (Larkhall Rise, Lambeth, London) I volunteered as a "milk monitor" - in those days the State provided a third of a pint of full fat milk or orange juice to all school children over the age of seven. It was my job to pierce the silver foil tops of every bottle with a knitting needle and insert a straw. I loved it - I got to drink extra milk (and I confess that I sometimes licked the knitting needle).

I also volunteered as "Ink Monitor" and it was my job to top up the inkwells on each desk before the first lesson started using a MASSIVE bottle of "Quink" ink. As you can imagine, I was often covered in inky stains, but my mum never complained. In my later school years I volunteered in the school print shop, the school jazz band and the drama society. This meant that I had a wide and eclectic circle of friends and acquaintances. So I guess you could say I got into the groove early.

As an adult I've always actively volunteered at one thing or another when it took my fancy. I ran a youth club along with my wife Pam. I have been Treasurer of a local children's play group, a union rep (and later Branch Chair) and many more fun and interesting things to numerous to mention. Volunteering is a way of life. It allows me to meet new people, it gives me a sense of self worth. It keeps me occupied, and my mind sharp. "Well" you say. "I'm living with dementia. Who'd want me now?" or "I'm a carer. I don't have time to volunteer". Any you'll be pleased to know that there are a multitude of volunteering activities that you can engage in locally, nationally and internationally. Here's how to get involved... Why not volunteer for Alzheimer's Society? there are loads of local opportunities, and you will be most welcome. Or why not have a look at Dementia Adventure , Dementia UK or The Alzheimer's Association? They're all actively recruiting volunteers. Or maybe you'd like to be involved in dementia research? And of course the world of volunteering is not limited to dementia-related activities. You might very well want to get involved is something completely different. Most Councils have volunteer sections on their websites or, how about searching on the Government Volunteer site? There's really no excuse for saying that you're bored, unfulfilled and fed up, or that you're lonely and have no friends. There's a whole legion of new friends waiting for you out there in the world of volunteering, and they've got a mountain of interesting and exciting things for you do get involved in. Go on... Take the plunge!

You'll be glad that you did.

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