Retiring at 60, with my health and finances in good shape, and a husband of 40+ years to share my time with, was an enviable situation to be in. So why was it that, 4-5 years later, my armchair and daytime TV seemed to be the preferred option most days?
Time to try something different, I thought. I came across RSVP and their National Programme of Reading Volunteers known as Learn Together Cymru and, after declaring an interest, I was soon invited to meet other reading volunteers for some training. After all the relevant checks were completed, I was placed in my local primary school. A couple of hours a week was all that was expected of me and, after discussion with the class teacher, we settled on a one hour session every Monday and Thursday. That was nearly four years ago and I’m still there.
Two hours of my time each week doesn’t seem much, but for me it means that on two days there is a purpose to my day – a reason to get up, shower, change and get ‘out there’. The walk to the school and back is an important element. I meet delightful children who enjoy reading, and I enjoy listening to them. And when it’s over, there is enough of the day left to go to the shops or pay someone a visit.
I do wonder sometimes who benefits the most from my volunteering – the children, who get some extra reading practice, or me. Let’s just call it a ‘win-win situation’!