We met with lead volunteers Sarah and Elaine after Christmas to catch up on how the event went. Since signing up to volunteer, the pair have become good friends and have met up for drinks and pub quizzes! Here’s what they had to say…
Why did you decide to volunteer this Christmas?
Sarah: I have family all over the world, so Christmas is often expensive and difficult to organise. This year I didn’t want to spend it at family friends where I had to fit in with everyone’s traditions and plans, so thought I should volunteer. Not many people are able to give their Christmas day to charity and I thought this was a really worthy cause, close to my home thus convenient and much better than small talk with distant relatives or family friends!
Elaine: I volunteer frequently and just decided I would rather spend my Christmas this way & see my family a few days later.
Have you kept in touch with any of the other volunteers since the event?
Sarah: I have kept in touch with Elaine who I co-lead with at the venue. We have similar sense of humour, values and hobbies and I find it easy being around her, not to mention having a new local friend is fab!
Elaine: Sarah of course! And I often bump into two of our guests near where I live.
If you were going to recommend Marmalade Trust Christmas events to a friend, what would you tell them?
Sarah: I would say it is a nice way to meet local people, have a laugh, get to know a local venue and meet like-minded people!
Elaine: I would say it's a wonderful fun way of spending Christmas & it means you're not lonely too!!
What impact did volunteering have on you?
Sarah: It definitely showed me that being selfless on Christmas Day is by far the best gift you can receive! Seeing smiles on people’s faces who would have otherwise been lonely and maybe sad was very rewarding.
Elaine: I love volunteering, it keeps me busy, I meet lovely people and you do feel you are helping in whatever small way
Do you ever feel lonely?
Sarah: Not at the moment as my area has such a great community, but I have felt very lonely in the past when living on my own in cities.
Elaine: Not anymore but when I first moved to Bristol, I knew no-one... I am very self-sufficient but there were definitely moments and it takes a while to create a new network when your old friends are so far away.