College librarian volunteers in the community

Carly Eyre, Library Assistant at The Henley College has been volunteering in the community helping others who are shielding and isolating. Here, Carly shares with us her experiences and how it helps her mental health, as well as the wellbeing of others.

"At the end of March 2020, I became a volunteer within my local community and I thought I would tell you a little bit about what tasks I carry out and why it is a great idea to volunteer when it is safe to do so. I enjoy being able to help those in need where I can, and I live in a community where there are a lot of elderly residents – so volunteers are always appreciated. I am trusted to carry out tasks correctly, and to keep any personal details of individuals completely confidential.

My main task as a volunteer is to pick up and deliver essential items and medication to those who are self-isolating, or to those who are no longer able to get out and easily access what they need. The process of this is quite safe. Supermarkets, shops, and pharmacies have their procedures and 2 metre distancing layouts in place for those who are shopping for essential items. As a volunteer, I go into these places and collect the required essential items for an individual in need. I then drive to the address of the individual and place their items on their doorstep. I knock on their door, and step back to a safe distance and watch as the individual takes their items into their home and confirm that they are happy with what they have received.

I also make telephone calls to individuals who are completely alone and extremely isolated at the moment. This task is completely safe as I don’t even need to leave my house to make a phone call to someone else. The purpose of this is for me to provide a comforting conversation to someone who just wants to hear a friendly voice. With the theme of The Henley College currently being about mental health awareness, I particularly enjoy making phone calls to those who are isolated and alone because I understand just how much loneliness can affect mental health.

Being a volunteer has helped my own mental health because I know that I am doing something positive to give back to my community and I am providing assistance to those who are in desperate need of it. Just knowing that I have made someone’s day easier by delivering essential items or that a phone call has made someone feel happier and more emotionally encouraged, really makes me feel like I am contributing something worthy towards my local community during this pandemic – and I will continue to volunteer in my own time after the pandemic has passed.

Stay safe everyone, and look after each other."


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