Jonathan Parsons volunteers at Minstead Lodge’s day opportunities. Find out more about his experience from his point of view.

After working in the NHS for 32 years I retired in 2013 but was keen to volunteer as valuable way to keep me active, focused and importantly, as a means of continuing to care for others.

The first time I visited Minstead Trust I was struck not only by the tranquillity and peaceful beauty of Minstead Lodge and its grounds but also the caring ethos of the place; something I found shared by all. Everyone has always been so friendly and I was made to feel extremely welcome.

Minstead Lodge is home to New Forest Day Opportunities, a day centre offering a number of activities and sessions to adults with a variety of learning disabilities, supporting them to further develop practical life skills with an aim to improve their independence.

As an avid woodworker I was particularly impressed with the workshop facilities and have been volunteering with the workshop team every Friday since April 2014.  Working alongside four or five people we support each session, we make a variety of items including wooden benches, planters, tables and many other items either for commission or for sale. It is however, those one on one sessions that I particularly enjoy.

I never fail to be amazed at the gratitude I receive from everyone for my help as a volunteer and it makes me realise how much my time means to the organisation and to the adults I support. I look forward to, and love, my volunteering days and I still get the same feeling of having done something worthwhile and having helped someone when I come home in the evening as I did when I first started. It is incredibly humbling and terribly rewarding.

For anybody looking for meaningful volunteering opportunities I would thoroughly recommend Minstead Trust.

If you’d like to find out more about our volunteering opportunities, visit our volunteering page.

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