We all benefit from a little support and equally, we can use our skills and experience to support others. Having visited The Healthy Living Centre or taken part in activities, a number of local residents have found ways to give a little back. Our volunteers include children’s author, Darren St Mart.
Darren was first made aware of The Healthy Living Centre when he was looking for social activities that would be suitable and appealing for his mum. She has a mild form of Dementia and Aylesbury Vale District Council (AVDC) suggested ‘Singing for the Mind’. Darren recalled his mum singing in the kitchen when he was growing up and decided to give it a try.
Attending a Dementia Group
Darren recalls, “I attended the first Singing for the Mind session with my mum and the group was warm and friendly. Through the session I saw a complete change in her, she brightened up”.
“In visiting The Healthy Living Centre, I found out about the Senior’s Lunch Club and realised that my mum could come for a full afternoon. Work commitments mean that a carer now brings my mum, but I know that she will be welcomed and well looked after, she’s in safe hands.” Said Darren.
Darren was also informed about Alzheimer’s Society meetings which were held at The Healthy Living Centre. He joined a number of meetings and states “They helped me to explore new ways to support and communicate with my mum now that she has Dementia”
“If you are an Aylesbury resident who is caring for someone with Dementia, in early or advanced stages, I recommend the singing group and support available at The Healthy Living centre”.
Spotting an Opportunity
Whilst at The Healthy Living Centre, Darren spoke to the staff and discovered more about the other activities on offer. Having previously worked as a Teaching Assistant and a Volunteer in Youth Groups, Darren could see that his skills and experience could be of value.
A weekly after-school Drama Group was running at the time and Darren joined the group as a volunteer. “It was just an hour or two a week, but I enjoyed working with the group and serving the community”.
The Drama Group has now finished, but Darren is involved in the early stages of a collaborative Anti-Bullying campaign, involving Thames Valley Police and The Healthy Living Centre. He continues to support the community in other ways, including participation in Aylesbury’s Whizz Fizz Festival and writing short stories with profits donated to the NSPCC.
The definition of community Spirit is ‘a feeling of involvement in and concern for one’s local community’. Darren describes The Healthy Living Centre as “A hive where the community can get together”. Whether you are interested in an activity or you have skills to share through volunteering, you’ll be welcomed.