It’s often assumed that the old and the young have little in common. But last week, two Urban Synergy mentees disproved this by volunteering at the Pineapple Luncheon Club, an African Caribbean project for older people. Natasha Reid, Urban Synergy mentor & Cohort Leader explains how a wonderful camaraderie was struck up between the mentees and the older folk.
Despite many days and weeks of rigorous organising and last-minute telephone calls confirming who is now not able to attend from who is, our first day proved to be a success from start to finish! With only Abraham and Nathan in tow we made the long bus journey to Anerley.
No sooner had the boys been introduced to Mrs Malcolm and Fred (Centre Supervisors) they were swiftly given a task – prepare the tables in the main hall for the day’s activities before the members arrive! So after a thorough Health & Safety tour, the work, (sorry ‘volunteering’) began and continued job after job, responsibility after responsibility. (It was an impressive sight to watch and I had a sense of pride knowing these boys could’ve been anywhere else doing something else!)
Whilst I snapped away in my attempt to capture ‘that picture’, they snatched a moment or two to reflect and write about their experiences in their diaries, in between serving porridge, clearing away dirty plates, interviewing individual members or playing dominoes! They even stood at the front and spoke openly to the group about their reasons for volunteering.
They exceeded my and the centre Supervisors expectations to say the least and welcomed the idea to attend the following day (Friday) despite being privately informed ‘it’ll be boring!’ Well…not so for our young men.
They arrived on time and set themselves to work – laying tables in preparation for porridge to be served, took part in the devotion time and engaged well with members and centre users (particularly one member who appeared to struggle with losing at dominoes!).
A great first week with yet more fulfilling experiences to follow so watch this space and enjoy the photos!!