Spending time as a volunteer can be a truly transforming experience and for all that our volunteers pledge to our charity, we do our best to ensure that they are able to gain just as much in return. Meet Sarah, just one of many amazing volunteers we are proud to welcome through our doors each year, as she shares her heartwarming account of her time spent at Netley Waterside House last summer.
Written by Sarah Hignett
“In late June last summer I spent a week volunteering with Revitalise in the scenic village of Netley near Southampton. When the train stopped at the one platform train station in Netley I had no idea of what to expect, or where I was going for that matter! With my suitcase in tow and after having asked many friendly people, I eventually found Netley Waterside House, the beautiful Revitalise centre brimming with excited guests and volunteers.
When I arrived I was immediately given a red hat with my name on it – this meant that I was initiated into the red team. Straight away several guests who were also wearing red hats came up to me and made me swear a solid allegiance to my team. The atmosphere was full of fun and throughout that first lunch I didn’t stop laughing! I was introduced to many guests with different personalities and talents, including a DJ, a songwriter and even Bob Marley’s number one fan!
The happiness that Revitalise emits has really stuck with me. The fact that many of the guests and volunteers had been coming for years made me feel like it was the best place for a fun break!
I was using my time at Revitalise as work experience, to find out exactly what I wanted to do with my life and to gain social skills. Most importantly, my experience inspired me to become a doctor. When I saw how much the guests appreciated their carers and how much they enjoyed having a laugh with friends, I knew that medicine was a worthwhile career. Even the simple things like helping someone to buy their favourite chocolate, listening to them talk about their passions, or simply remembering their tea order were rewarding.
Sometimes I felt like the guests did more for me than I did for them – one lady showed me how to wash my trousers when I’d made them dirty by the third day and many of them gave me advice on what makes a good doctor. The most important thing a doctor can be is understanding, while letting their patients know that they care. Revitalise showed me that I love to care and that all the best people do.”