My volunteer year at Nutley Hall
“Hello everybody, I’m Bettina, one of the lucky volunteer Co-Workers this year 2012/2013 here at Nutley Hall where I work in Cedarwood, one of the five houses here. It’s such a nice thing to be part of this wonderful community and of the lives of the residents. I really enjoy to spend my time with them, although it can be very hard and challenging.
Why did I come to this place? Actually my sister used to be one of the Co-Workers here five years ago. During this year I came to this place to stay here for four weeks to do a practical training during my holiday-time. At that time I already enjoyed to spend my time here, with all the nice people around me. And that’s why I came back as a Co-Worker for a year.
Just to give you a little overview of what we are doing here:
In my house there are always two people working each day. That means one is helping with morning care while the other one is preparing breakfast. After breakfast we do the wash-up all together and then the residents go to their day activities. While the residents are in their workshops all staff members and Co-Workers do cleaning in the houses (you’ll get used to it, as well as all the other jobs needed to meet our residents’ needs..
Two days a week we join one of the workshops, another day the house has got a “house-meeting” and some other days we go for a walk with some of the residents.
At 6.00 pm the residents come back to have supper with us. Afterwards it’s the wash-up for everybody again.
In the evenings we do some evening-activity like playing games with them, playing the guitar and sing with them or doing something else.
But I have to say that each day is different. There are some days that are really exhausting and challenging and some are more relaxed, it always depends on the residents’ wellbeing and how much support they may need. During the whole year here in Nutley Hall we are celebrating all the festivals like Michaelmas, Halloween, Santa Lucia, Christmas, the Holy nights, New Years Eve, Carnival, St. Johns. Some of the festivals like Halloween, Carnival are organised by the Co-Workers. And everybody’s welcome to play music to support/facilitate the festivals the whole year through.
Apart from your work you have your two days-off as well. And on these days you can really do anything you want. There are a lot of nice places to go to around this area. And one of the best things is that here the co-workers have got access to a Co-Worker car.
Furthermore I must say that the whole community is very nice. I really feel welcomed and very comfortable around everybody. People are genuinely interested in you, they are interested to know how you are doing and if you get along with your house-coordinators, the residents and the work in your house. I know that there will always be someone to whom I can talk.”