KATY – VOLUNTEER WITH HIGH WYCOMBE SHOPMOBILITY

Katy is a volunteer with High Wycombe Shopmobility and is really enjoying her role there.

What led you to volunteer? During the pandemic I saw lots of stories about people volunteering and I just wanted to help, to ‘give something back’, so I registered with the Volunteer Matching Service. When one of the team spoke to me about the Shopmobility role, I knew nothing about the charity or what it does, but I thought I’d give it a go, I find I am really enjoying it.

What is your role? I am one of the volunteers who man the Shopmobility office in the Eden Centre in High Wycombe. On a typical afternoon I’ll spend my time answering the phone, taking bookings for scooters or wheelchairs and handing them over to clients for their use.

If a client hasn’t used the service before I’ll sort out their membership and take them through a mini-driving test to make sure they know how to use the equipment safely.  When the scooter or wheelchair is returned then I’d clean it to minimise COVID infection risk.

Was there anything surprising about the role? I had to do a little driving test in a mobility scooter myself to make sure I could operate it safely as well as showing clients how to use them. One of the services the charity offers is that we can meet clients at the bus station with a pre-booked scooter or wheelchair so its important that all the team can ride them safely. We also have to be able to manoeuvre them around the premises for cleaning and storage.

Are there any negative aspects to the role? Only on a day when there aren’t many clients, as time can pass a bit more slowly then. But I expect more people will use Shopmobility and we will be busier once normality resumes after the pandemic.

What do you gain personally from volunteering? I enjoy interacting with people who I wouldn’t have met in my everyday life. Many of them are eager to chat and, for some, a trip to the Eden Centre with the help of a Shopmobility scooter is the only outlet they have.

It is wonderful to be able to make a difference to people. Many of them are just so grateful, and often pleasantly surprised that the service is free.

I am part of a great bunch of people at Shopmobility, it is a really friendly team. They are very flexible and understanding if I can’t volunteer on my usual afternoon and have to swap to a different day.

Would you recommend volunteering? I would absolutely recommend volunteering – whether at Shopmobility or elsewhere. If you have the time, it can be so fulfilling.

 

Additional information:

You can find out more about High Wycombe Shopmobility on their website.

If you are looking for a volunteering role, you can:

Published on August 17, 2021

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Image courtesy of St Francis's Children Society