Awards ceremonies have taken place to thank the dedicated army of volunteers who give up their time to help at The Royal Star & Garter Homes in Surbiton and Solihull.
The charity, which cares for ex-servicemen and women and their partners living with disability or dementia, has over 60 active volunteers who help staff provide award winning care to its residents.
Each year certificates and medals are handed out to volunteers who have completed either one, five, 10 or 20 years of voluntary work with the charity.
Among the volunteers to receive certificates and medals for their service was pets as therapy dog Harvey and his owner Irene Rowe. She has been coming to the Surbiton Home with the loveable lurcher for five years.
“Harvey loves coming here, he pulls me into the home and knows which residents have treats for him,” she says. “I like coming here because I enjoy talking to people and hearing their stories, it’s very humbling.”
Ken Mackay has been coming to the Solihull home for one year. He says: “I became a volunteer when I did because my mother was a resident here before she passed away last year. I like the people and the building, and I like what the place stands for. I find the volunteering rewarding, and it’s nice to give back a bit to the charity.”
Chief executive Andy Cole says: “These events are about saying a huge thank you to the amazing volunteers who give their precious time to the charity. We are very grateful for what they do for our residents, every day.”
The volunteers help with some of the 50 weekly activities put on at each home for residents. Raquel Pena Aristizabal, activities and volunteers manager at Surbiton, says: “Helping others is the highest expression of the soul and we recognise that this is what our volunteers do for our residents. So we hold this ceremony to express gratitude for what they do.”
Charlie Wilson, activities and volunteers manager at the Solihull home, says: “Volunteers mean so much to the home and make such a huge difference to the lives of our residents. They are kind and wonderful people and is it so appreciated that they give their valuable time to us. It's nice to have the opportunity to say a big thank you on behalf of us all.”