Sabrina’s experience of volunteering proves that helping others can be a welcomed relief from a busy schedule of work and other commitments.
At aged 42, Sabrina works full-time as a lab manager within the NHS which is a path she felt was inspired in part by her father who was a Doctor. Sabrina told us how she spent many weekends and even Christmas days on the wards with her dad as a child. Sabrina recalled how these experiences shaped her as a person, instilling the importance of helping others from an early age “My dad was a doctor and I remember going into the hospital with him on Christmas day, I saw all of the patients who were stuck in bed unwell, I remember singing Christmas carols to them and making them laugh, so helping other people has always been really important to me”.
So even now, in between a busy work schedule, musical theatre, crafting and spending time with her beloved hamster, Sabrina volunteers with Age Connects Cardiff and the Vale.
After spotting an advertisement on social media about five years ago, Sabrina signed up to volunteer because “Helping people is engrained in me, it’s the main reason why I chose a career in the NHS. Volunteering it’s something positive to do with your time that can make a difference to someone else.”
Initially, Sabrina began as a long-term befriending volunteer, but in the years since her role has evolved into offering adhoc support in her community. This can range from digital support, grocery shopping and prescription drop-offs.
Sabrina reflected that so much more of the world has turned to digital. Noting that the pandemic only further exasperated the digital divide she fears that many elderly people might get left behind.
Now, she offers her support as a volunteer with Age Connects Cardiff and the Vale to ensure that those people can get connected digitally. For her, technical devices are second nature, and she feels comfortable teaching others. A lot of the tasks she helps with tend to be around booking GP appointments or accessing services that have become digtialised.
“I want to be able to reduce barriers for older people when it comes to technology. I worry they’d get left behind, so anything I can do to help them makes it worthwhile for me”
This digital support offered by Sabrina isn’t just about digital connection either, but also around a human connection and the rise of social isolation. Many of the people Sabrina visits struggle with feelings of loneliness, so an informal chat over a cuppa and offering any additional support from Age Connects goes a long way.
We also couldn’t help but include this brilliant anecdote about when she was part of a volunteering campaign for Age Connects Cardiff and the Vale and her face ended up on a bus in Cardiff.
“Age Connects once needed volunteers for a photoshoot. I went along and spent the day having my picture taken for adverts. I was chatting to this older gentleman, who was around 90 years old. He was a client of age connects and just so sharp and funny. We laughed a lot during the photoshoot. Next thing I know my friend sends me a text and there I am, my face on the back of a bus advertising age connect, i will always remember that”
Sabrina spent a few months getting messages from friends saying they’d seen her face across Cardiff on the bus!
So if you're thinking about volunteering, take it from Sabrina “ Do it, because you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. You really can make a difference to someone's day, week, month or year”.