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Blog: "I really enjoy volunteering, it's a part of my life now."

Today is World Mental Health Day. A day to talk about mental health, how we need to look after it, and how important it is to get help if you are struggling. Get Out Get Active is proud to support such an important day. The programme is about much more than being active. It strengthens community spirit, increases confidence, and improves mental health.

In the Forest of Dean, Get Out Get Active teamed up with Community Dementia Links (CDL) to support older people with dementia to be active. Here we hear from Gill, a volunteer, who has supported these sessions and the people who attend.

Gill a GOGA volunteer.Gill’s blog:

Hi, I’m Gill and I am a Community Dementia Link (CDL) volunteer within the Forest of Dean Dementia Action Alliance. Being a CDL volunteer means I support older people to be more physically active within the community.

I heard about volunteering for the Get Out Get Active programme when attending a regular Community Dementia Link catch up. I have an interest in helping people take part in gentle activities and know about the important role activity has when it comes to dementia. I went to one of the gentle active indoor game sessions. It was fun, and there was a variety of different indoor games set up in inclusive ways for anyone to have a go.   

Being a retired teacher, I have led a fairly indulgent lifestyle and I wanted to feel useful and give something back. Not only am I now giving something back, I am learning new things and skills. I’ve completed dementia friendly training. I’ve also taken part in training to create inclusive sports and inclusive activity.

I have a friend with dementia and after going to the session, I thought she would enjoy the activities. I started by supporting my friend through the session and with the different activities. I quicky began to chat with the other participants. My friend has inspired me to continue volunteering. I have since started to support all the participants, even if it’s a tea and cake break, or help with the activities. The chats with tea and cake are just as important as the active part of the session!

I have found that the people that attend the sessions lead it when comes to Get Out Get Active. There’s a variety of things we do and we’re free to try different things out. But my favourite part is seeing the older people achieve and experience joy. Seeing the value, feeling valued, and giving people something to do is the best thing about being a volunteer. I really enjoy volunteering, it’s a part of my life now.

This blog is part of our People of GOGA series, where we celebrate the diversity of roles and people involved in the programme at all levels.

About Get Out Get Active

Get Out Get Active (GOGA) is a programme that supports disabled and non-disabled people to enjoy being active together. Activity Alliance is the creator and lead partner. The programme is funded by Spirit of 2012, Sport England and London Marathon Charitable Trust.

Find out more about Get Out Get Active here.