We have over 100 older volunteers supporting Full Circle groups across the county. We are very proud that our oldest volunteer is 97 years old and and our longest serving volunteer has been going to her Full Circle group for over 18 years!
There are no special skills or experiences needed to become a Full Circle volunteer. All we ask is that our older volunteers
- Are over the age of fifty
- Enjoy being with children or young people
- Can volunteer for one hour a week, during school term times
People decide to volunteer with Full Circle for many reasons. It is a very rewarding experience and an ideal way to
- Have fun
- Make a difference to the lives of younger people
- Meet new people and make new friends
- Gain new experiences and share skills
They teach the children games they’ve never played and they teach them games they’ve never heard of!
Each week, a small group of older volunteers come together to spend a lunch time session in school with younger people. Together they share lunch and chat about their week, they then take part in a range of extra-curricular activities – art, board games and cookery.
Each group is run by a facilitator, who organises the activities and ensures that the group runs smoothly. But it’s all about fun and friendship at the sessions and by spending time together, older volunteers are able to pass on their skills and life experiences.
Children and young people benefit from the care and attention of new friends. By getting to know each other, each group builds up mutual understanding and respect.
Dorothy, a volunteer at Faringdon Infants’ School, explains:
“We usually arrive about 10 minutes before the group starts, as we like to help set up the tables and have a bit of a chinwag. When the children arrive, Katie (the facilitator) explains what we’re going to do. The children have their lunch with us and it’s nice for us to catch up with what they’ve been doing. We normally do some sort of art or craft activity but you don’t need to be good at that sort of thing – we all muck in. We try to encourage the children to do things for themselves but sometimes they need a bit of help.
I think it’s a lovely time for us volunteers as well as the children because there’s lots of laughter and fun. It’s good to see all the relationships developing and I enjoy the company of the other volunteers. The children really do progress during their time with Full Circle. I can think of one boy, in particular, who was very shy and quiet when he first came but you could see him blooming week by week.
During the school holidays, we all really miss Full Circle but it’s lovely when you see the children in the shops and they always say hello and often come and give you a big cuddle. Even children who don’t come to Full Circle anymore always want to chat with you. It makes you realise that you’ve made a real difference.”