Patrick: Making connections


Picture of elderly man with volunteering quote

Volunteer Centre Sutton has recently concluded a research pilot measuring the effect of volunteering on wellbeing. Here, Pat Stanley (Volunteering Development Manager) relates the story of one of the participants, Patrick*.

First steps

Patrick is aged 57 and lives in Sutton.  He had been suffering from depression for quite a while and was spending far too much time indoors at home.  He said he had very low confidence and no self-worth.  By chance he met an old friend who had been volunteering and told him that it was great to be out and doing something new.

Patrick made an appointment to see our Volunteer Interviewer Jackie and she gave him a couple of volunteering options. The first one didn’t work out and he came back and as he had said he enjoyed cooking she matched him up with Sutton Lodge.

No looking back

He started at a local charity as a cook and after his first day volunteering he felt it was a good volunteering environment and he fitted in, and he knew he was going back.  Patrick looks forward to his volunteering and prioritises it every week.  He said he had to fight to get his confidence back and that volunteering was the connection between his old world and his new world.

Volunteering had been a positive experience for him and when I asked him what he had got out of it, he reported the following:

  • Meeting different people
  • Feeling he had things in common with other people after being isolated (better connected)
  • Being part of a volunteering team
  • Getting back old skills
  • Feeling more confident now
  • Enjoys helping people and he realised that volunteering is a lifeline for people at Sutton Lodge

To sum up he said: “I was stuck in a rut, got off my backside and eventually sent somewhere that was fantastic.  It is part of a structure that I didn’t have a year ago, and I want to volunteer there forever.”

Before he left Patrick said to me “don’t forget what I told you, it’s a connection between my old world and my new world”


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* Names, places and other details have been altered.