How I came to be a volunteer for Lifeworks

Ken tells us about how he came to be, and love being a volunteer for Lifeworks

I am Ken Hutchinson, a Volunteer with Life Works. Some of you may recognise me as the not very tall ancient person with grey hair and beard.

Many of you will be familiar with the events which have come to mean so much to me. When Sarah-Jane organised the first Breaking the Barrier Cycle event in June 2017 at the Torbay Velopark she needed some volunteers to assist. I am a regular at the Velopark and was very willing to help.

The event started in the sports hall due to very heavy rain, and when it eased, we decided to go out to the velo track. By the time we were organised, the rain returned and stayed with us for the rest of the day. Everyone was soaked and everyone was happy. We had a range of bikes. Trikes, Recumbents, 2 and 4 wheels. There was a bike for every ability. An amazing day in the company of equally amazing young people and family members.

Then in September I cycled from Dartington to Bigbury with a young member and his dad, and only just managed to keep up with them!

Then another lovely experience in October. The Breaking the Boundary Certificate Presentation Event at Dartington. I was honoured to be a member of the group presenting the Certificates to such well deserving young participants. I must confess that the drive home was emotional when I reflected on my experiences since June.

There were many more sessions at the Velopark and more pleasure for me to be in such great company.

Then an invitation to the Love your Volunteer evening. I was one of a room full of young volunteers to be presented with a certificate. Another emotional moment. It was lovely to feel part of the volunteer family which is Lifeworks.

Along the way I remember an occasion at the Velopark when I had a conversation with a young man about an idea to make an Animation film. It would be shown at the future Ordinary – Extraordinary Arts Festival. No Charity can survive without Fund Raising and this project required a large sum. Through a lot of hard work, and perhaps a little bit of arm twisting, the funds were in place. The event which happened over 2 days in October last year was stunning in every respect.

It rained non stop through day one. I was at the top of the hill with 2 adult volunteers from Dartington hall and members of our own volunteers. With the aid of a Golf Buggy with attitude we were the transport team to get people down to the venue and back up again. We all had great day and the folk we transported seemed to enjoy the experience! Day 2 and the weather was much better.

A few words from me could not describe the Festival. I think I commented a bit later that it was Inspirational. The Animation film “You’re not alone Luke” brought tears to my eyes. Another film was followed by a discussion lead by a group of young volunteers who showed great skill and understanding in the subject of loneliness in the Social Media Age. I did learn a lot.

The Theatre presentation was brilliant. There were so many other experiences. Music, Dance, disco and so much more. I should also mention that the food was excellent.

There have been so many times when the words Learning Disability were not on my mind. I am privileged to be part of a group of young people with a lot of talent. I have seen all that is good in people.

A visit to the Cinema in Plymouth in December was a memorable end to the year for me. A Pizza for lunch and then Star Wars. The final one in the series, and the first one I have ever seen. Popcorn and coffee in luxury.

This year the Bike track was interrupted by heavy rain and high winds.

Now the sadness of the Corona Virus. All the events cancelled.

I know that all at Head Office are working hard to enable other ways to be together.

A few final comments. I am proud and privileged to be in the company of such lovely people of all ages. From time to time people say thanks to me for my help as a volunteer. It is I who must say a sincere thanks to what I call the Lifeworks Family for accepting me into their world.

I now look forward to the day we return to normal life. At the Velopark it will probably be raining.

For more information on Breaking the Barrier Click here

For more information on Volunteering click here

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CoronavirusDue to the social distancing measures of Coronavirus not all of Lifeworks services are running as they usually do.

Our residential services, Robins and Sesame, continue to run and have provided a safe home for the residents. Unfortunately, we have had to stop the short stay service at Robins for the time being. Our specialist College was closed for the Easter holidays but has now re-opened for a small number of students. Community Projects’ in-person services have been put on hold but the team have been very creative, launching Safe-Space a new online platform to provide a much-needed service to young people who are feeling isolated at home.

We are still working our way through these times where there is uncertainty and we are responding to guidance and instruction as information is sent to us. We look forward to the time when we can re-instate all of our services but the safety and wellbeing of our service users, families and staff is our top priority always.

Please continue to find out more about our services and get in touch with us to discuss them at any time. Email [email protected] or call 01803 840 744

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