Volunteer information sessions in April

Three volunteer information sessions took place in April.

The first session, led by Chris Marsden, focussed on revisiting the guidelines and boundaries that CGN volunteers work within. This also included:

  • what makes a good volunteer
  • how we need sometimes to say ‘no’
  • Thinking about our own values and attitudes and the different approacheswe use  in our one-to-one relationships with the older people we get to know and befriend

The second session was led by Sally Ferris, the Co ordinator of Together Dementia Support. She talked about:

  • the different types of dementia,
  • the main signs of some cognitive decline,
  • what other factors could be affecting how someone presents themselves
  • strategies to support good communication so a visit can feel successful for both volunteer and older person befriended.

Sally Ferris

Volunteers at Sally’s Training session

The final session was led by life coach trainer, Debra McCallion, who discussed strategies for supporting people with low mood and anxiety. Volunteers learnt about:

  • tuning in to the ‘chattering mind’,
  • what the main negative thinking traps are and
  • having an attitude of gratitude.

According to Debra ( and she did once have a go at counting them in a small block of time! ) according to research, we have up to 50,000 thoughts in a day 70-80% of which tend to  be negative! (nb this estimate comes originally from Laboratory of Neuroimaging (LONI) at UCLA , though  no one really knows what the biological basis for a ‘thought’ is – ed)

Debra with volunteers in the training session