A CAPITAL care home volunteer has been commended for her lengthy service with one of the country’s largest housing providers at its yearly conference.
Ruth Bowen was acknowledged for her 15 years of service and contribution to enriching the lives of older people at Bield Housing & Care’s AGM in the capital last week.
The care home, which has provided housing and related services in Scotland for more than 40 years, offers volunteers the opportunity to help make a difference to the lives of older people through their own passions and experiences.
Keen musician Ruth, who plays the viola, described the experience as “amazing,” adding anyone interested in volunteering in homes across the country to get involved.
She said: “I can’t believe I’ve been with Bield for 15 years. I really have enjoyed my time here over the years.
“A huge variety of people volunteer with us. We increasingly have young people wanting to help out, with some who want to gain experience before going onto college or university.
“Some volunteers have been with us for many years. Equally we have a lot of people who will volunteer with us for some time and then go onto find jobs – sometimes within Bield – because of the experience volunteering has given them.
“Every volunteer brings their own energy to the role, it’s amazing to see.
“Sometimes all one tenant needs is a gentle hand to get them involved in activities. Volunteers are there to encourage them to join in.”
Among the volunteer programmes Ruth has helped staff at the home implement have included the Silver Surfer initiative, helping to teach elderly residents the skills needed to get online. And she admitted her role at the home had inspired her to take on further volunteering work elsewhere.
She said: “In my spare time I’m also a volunteer fundraiser at my daughter’s primary school, which is a great way for me to bring my work into my home life.
“My days are very busy and varied. I work with a really good team and we are making changes at the moment in training and supporting managers and volunteers, as well as working to improve how we advertise and recruit volunteers.
“It’s really great to see – volunteers create great relationships with the tenants and staff they work with, and really help with their self-confidence and independence.”
Bield is currently looking for volunteers in West Lothian, Fife and Glasgow.
Ruth added: “Bield is committed to growing our volunteer programme and improving their experience, so we also work to raise the profile of volunteering and help everyone see who is benefiting from it, including tenants and the volunteers themselves.”