Senior Volunteering makes a French Connection…Posted: October 12, 2012
Senior volunteers from Tameside, Greater Manchester were inspired and enthused by their recent placement in France. The volunteers were recruited by New Charter Housing Trust who in partnership with Association Montigny International has put together a series of volunteering activities surrounding cooking and horticulture – ideal for the domestic gods and goddesses or the green fingered among them.
Montigny has been twinned with Denton since 1993 and with strong links between the two towns it created the perfect platform for the organisations to come together in partnership to run a Senior Volunteering Project. The collaboration allowed New Charter Housing Trust to offer unique experiences to their volunteers and helped to expand and promote the work of the volunteers with residents in their community.
Growing Great Communities
The Grundtvig Senior Volunteering Project, called Growing Great Communities, aimed to give the volunteers the opportunity to exchange knowledge and skills with each other, with the added advantage of gaining valuable transferable skills. On a practical level the volunteers were involved in many different activities including cookery at the local Lycee (school), where the volunteers learnt a number of healthy-eating recipes to demonstrate and share with their neighbours and the wider community. In addition they visited and helped out at a gardening co-operative, sharing horticultural tips and gaining ideas for use once back on home soil in Manchester.
Tony Powell, New Charter’s Executive Director of Neighbourhoods said,
“This is the perfect way of finding out how residents in different European countries go about their daily tasks. So much can be learnt by this exchange programme and I am sure our residents are excited about their visit”.
Before the trip Francis Palmer, 57, had this to say,
“It has turned my life around! I am really looking forward to going to France. It is the first time I have been abroad and I am very excited. I am learning new skills all the time, I am learning how to speak French and am going to learn about the web. The trip has made me buy new clothes and improve my image and health; I am losing weight and have stopped smoking. This is a new lease of life for me, I am so excited!”
The enthusiasm of those who took part in the exchange was evident when visiting the areas around Montigny, they were all very keen to express the value they felt in volunteering by talking to locals in the villages and encouraging them to get involved. This work continued once they were back in Manchester and the local residents and the wider community have been avid listeners to the tales of the volunteers, prompting many of them to want to take part in the next exchange planned for early 2013.
There are so many ways that you can offer senior volunteers exciting European experiences to benefit them and your local community, why not find out more about Senior Volunteering Projects and how getting involved could benefit your organisation?