Giving back this Christmas
Liz and Michael Goodwin, two of In Great Company’s fabulous volunteers, recently went above and beyond to host a special Christmas lunch for the clients they visit. We had a chat with Liz and Michael about the event, and what it means for them to volunteer with seniors.
What drew you to volunteering with In Great Company?
Liz was already volunteering in Casino, and when relocating came across our ad. Liz and Michael decided it would be a good fit, and a way to connect with their new community. They had time to share, so why not spend it with seniors in need of company?
How many clients do you visit currently?
Four wonderful clients.
What is your favourite part about volunteering?
Meeting all the beautiful people out there. Getting to spend time with them, and see the difference it makes in their lives.
How did the Christmas Lunch idea come about?
In previous volunteering Liz would give out little presents to the volunteer team such as lolly packs and wanted to do something for the clients they visited. The couple spoke about doing something special for them, to bring some Christmas cheer and decided on a lunch.
How did the clients react to the invite? Are some of them spending the holidays alone?
They were very excited and welcomed the idea with open arms. One of the clients couldn’t attend but the couple still included her by taking some lunch over which she was very touched by.
They had their Christmas lunch early in the holiday season as Liz and Michael will be traveling to visit their family during the holiday season. They’re so dedicated to supporting the people they visit that they’ll be calling all the clients to check in even when traveling because maintaining those connections are so important and they want to make everyone is keeping well.
Tell us a bit about the day – how many attendees, what was for lunch, what activities?
Three clients were able to attend in person, one was unfortunately unable. Michael went and picked up a few of the clients to bring them over, as Liz prepared the food and got the house ready with all the Christmas decorations. The menu included a homemade Christmas cake, ham, pickled pork, roast chicken, pasta salad, potato salad, coleslaw, and individual cheesecakes. There was also a variety of slices to have with coffee and tea, and Liz even prepared a jar of her favourite savoury mix “nuts and bolts” for each of them to take.
Quite the feast! It was enjoyed with lots of conversation between the couple and their clients, all enjoying a special day together.
Was this a one off, or something you’d do again in future?
Liz and Michael would enjoy making it a yearly event with the clients if possible. They love celebrating the big moments and holidays with them, especially for those who haven’t got family close by. Liz and Michael are away from most of their family and have found these connections valuable themselves to feel part of a community. They appreciate how much it might mean for clients to not be alone on special days like birthdays and holidays, so are happy to be able to do something nice for them.
What impact do you feel your visits have had for your clients? Do you feel it has made a difference to their demeanour and outlook?
Clients have said stated the visits have changed their lives, the company is appreciated and the bonds they’ve formed are very special. Some of the clients are quite isolated from family and friends, can be quite lonely so it makes a big difference having someone to visit and give them support and incentive to get up and do things. Clients have said they were done and out, feeling unmotivated and the visits helped the clients find new motivation.
What are you some of the activities you do?
Liz and Michael enjoy going for coffee, walks, drives, to the movies, or even doing some gardening with their clients. Today they were outside doing some gardening with a client, Pauline, when we called, and have sent through some lovely pictures for us.
Any comments for our readers?
The couple encourage volunteers to enjoy their time with their clients! It makes them better company and the clients truly value your time. It is good to get out and meet new people, getting the opportunity to learn about their lives and all the adventures they’ve been on. They encourage people to share experiences, you’d be surprised at what you find to talk about and how valuable a simple conversation can be. Life’s too short, so make the most of it and do something meaningful with your time.
Liz and Michael spread this message of connectedness throughout their community and family, encouraging others to get involved and give back making them fantastic role models for younger generations.
We here at In Great Company can’t wait to hear more of what Liz and Michael get up to next, and the ways in which they brighten their client’s days.
Have you got a volunteering story to share? Some photos with clients? You get in touch with us via email at [email protected] to share volunteer updates.
Want to get involved?
See what being a volunteer with In Great Company is all about and how you could make a positive difference in someone's life, by signing up for our volunteer newsletter.