Becoming part of my community through volunteering

Katherine comes from a family where her Mum had been an active volunteer for years and was always an inspiration to her. So when she moved to York in December, without knowing anyone in the city, she knew she wanted volunteering to be part of her life. 

The role in recruitment she moved to York for didn’t materialise in March because of Covid-19, so Katherine was doubly keen to get out and meet people alongside doing some good. Living alone, she knew for sure, she didn’t want to sit at home and stare at her own four walls. 

She put herself on the Council and NHS volunteer list without getting any opportunities, but then read about Move the Masses in a council newsletter. She was already delivering prescriptions for her local pharmacy in Huntington, so when Move the Masses started coordinating some of the prescription deliveries there, Katherine's volunteering moved with it.

Now Katherine delivers prescriptions on Tuesdays and Fridays and walks with her Move Mate on Mondays and Thursdays. She actually likes to volunteer to do a one-off emergency delivery on a Wednesday if one comes up, in order to do a satisfying full 5-day-week of volunteering.

She does all her deliveries on foot and loves knowing people in her local neighbourhood and making a difference to their wellbeing. 

Lots of the people I deliver to are regulars and know me well. Quite a few of them are waiting for me and I always stop and have a chat. I talk to lots of people along the way too and because I do my rounds on foot I have the time to chat. I absolutely know I am brightening up their day. 

And Katherine thrives on it. She loves that the volunteering gets her out and about and she has really enjoyed bonding with other volunteers too. 

Volunteering is as good for my mental health as it is for the people I am supporting. 

She walks with her Move Mate for two hours twice a week and finds she fills some lonely hours for the woman in between her seeing her own family. They have a real giggle together and Katherine feels very valued by her; she likens it a little to having a surrogate Grandmother.

Katherine is blown away by Move the Masses as a charity and feels the same Move Mate project should exist throughout the country. She sees it as such a simple concept, but something that gives older people, and those with mental health difficulties, part of their lives back. 

When they are out and about her Move Mate is constantly telling other people they meet how good it is for her and how it has improved her confidence and Katherine sees those people wishing they had a walking buddy too. 

Katherine’s one-off emergency deliveries most recently took her to Strensall, which ended up in a 9 mile round walk. She plugged in her audio book and away she went. 

What a labour of love!