Fulfilled living in later life
Pilgrims Friend Florence House Shannon

Monday 7th June 2021

The ACE Team

Our team of Activities and Community Engagement (ACE) Facilitators are on a mission to get volunteers into our homes and support for older people out into the community

Pilgrims’ Friend Society care homes have always been ably supported by teams of volunteers. Whether through visiting, leading services, holding fundraisers, or running prayer meetings, our homes have been so blessed over the years by the love, care, and support of volunteers.

In recent years we’ve been building on this legacy with our Activities and Community Engagement Programme which we’re rolling out across the Society’s homes. The Programme is a new approach to recruiting volunteers and connecting with the wider community and at the heart of the Programme are our ACE Facilitators: dedicated members of the staff team who recruit and oversee our volunteers, and connect with the local community, especially through the local church.

Providing homes for older people which are warm, friendly, and stimulating is a central part of our mission at Pilgrims’ Friend Society, and we know that volunteers are essential to making this happen. Volunteers help create an atmosphere of fun and creativity, working with those who live in the homes to build activities around their interests and hobbies. Some of those who live with us have spent much of their lives cultivating gardens, so green-fingered activities are essential! For others, memories of holidays at the seaside are brought to life with special activity days. And, we hope before too long, that trips out to favourite haunts will be back on the schedule!

Over the years we’ve been blessed by so many volunteers who have used their skills and gifting in Christian ministry in our homes. Michael and Sylvia Elliot (pictured directly above) have been volunteering at Milward House for 14 years. Before the pandemic closed the home to visitors, Michael and Sylvia would visit those who lived in the home, chatting with them and getting to know them. Michael would also lead services, which are a central part of the life of the home that volunteers are invaluable to.

Even over the last year when volunteering in the homes has been more limited, volunteers like Michael have continued to bless our older people through leading sessions over Zoom! At Pilgrims’ Friend Society, our vision isn’t just about what’s going on inside our homes and schemes, it’s also about older people in the wider community. That’s why our ACE team also reach out to the local community, equipping and resourcing others to support older people living independently. We especially want to help the local church to reach older people and help to tackle loneliness and isolation, as well as bring the good news of Jesus to those who haven’t yet heard it.

Volunteer Michael Elliot says: “Volunteering is very satisfying work. If you have a burden from the Lord to volunteer, pray about it and listen to what others do.”

Our ACE Facilitators are always on the lookout for more volunteers. Whatever your background, and whatever time you have to give, we’d love to hear from you.

Get in touch via info@pilgrimsfriend.org.uk

Our ACE Team:

• Milward House – Susan Schibli

• Bethany Christian Home – Sam Everett

• Florence House – Shannon Masango

• Evington Home – Andrea Louis

• Finborough Court – Sarah Parkinson

Coming soon to:

• Middlefields House

• Framland

The ACE Programme is headed up by Jane Trimarco, one of our Operations Managers, and Mandy Smith, Scheme Manager at Pilgrim Gardens and Carey Gardens.

This article first appeared in the Summer 2021 edition of The Pilgrims' Magazine.

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