Help to Health

To celebrate Grandparents Day we caught up with some of our amazing volunteers and staff, grandparents and grandchildren alike, to find out how they’ll be marking the occasion.

Jamie Crowther, Project Development Officer for Sporting Chance

Jamie with his Grandma Mavis

Sporting Chance has been a huge success in Middlesbrough and Stockton-On-Tees and launched in Sheffield earlier this year thanks to support from the players of the People’s Postcode Lottery. Project Development Officer Jamie tells us why he was inspired by his Grandma Mavis to get involved with the project.

“I’ve always been inspired by my Grandma’s ‘can do’ attitude in terms of helping others. She’s not afraid to get her hands dirty and get involved and has always been there for me and my mum.

“She’s one of the reasons I got involved with Sporting Chance. My Grandma is active and has friends and family around her but not all older people do. As a society I don’t think we do enough for older people. There’s just not enough stuff for them to do. That’s why I think Sporting Chance is so great. There are plenty of guys out there who are able to get involved in activities but they don’t for one reason or another. They might not have friends or family around for example and are alone. Sporting Chance gives people the opportunity to get out and join in and I’ve seen the difference it can make.”

How will you mark Grandparents Day?

“By telling everyone how amazing my Grandma is!”

Sporting Chance offers a range of free activities, such as exercise classes and social groups for men over 50. If you’d like to get involved visit the Sporting Chance project page.

Help to Health
John, volunteer driver with one of his passengers, Gwen

John, 73, Volunteer Driver, County Durham

John has been a volunteer driver with Volunteering Matters for the past 9 years. He is part of our Help to Health scheme in County Durham.

Our volunteer drivers help older and vulnerable people get to hospital and health care appointments, helping them maintain their health and independence and reducing social isolation.

A grandparent of three children aged from 11 to 13, John also celebrates his birthday on Grandparents Day this year.

Tell us more about your role as a volunteer

I’ve been volunteering as a driver for the past 9 years. I do it in the morning, it gets you out and you get to meet very nice people who really appreciate the help that you give them and you get to have a nice chat. You can really see it’s helping and it’s well appreciated.

What do your grandchildren think about your volunteering?

They think it’s good. They’re always asking about it and they’ve seen some of the pictures of me with my passengers.

How will you mark Grandparents Day?

Well it’s on my birthday and with my wife’s birthday around that time too we’ll be having a family celebration.

If you would like to find out more about becoming a volunteer driver, visit the Help to Health information page.

Grandmentors Team

Grandmentors Team

We couldn’t celebrate Grandparents Day without a thank you to our wonderful Grandmentors team, some of whom are pictured here.

Grandmentors is an innovative project using the power of inter-generational mentoring to support care leavers who may be in challenging life circumstances. These mentors are volunteers aged 50 and over who use their wisdom, their energy and their life experience to help keep young people leaving care on track.

The project, which was set up in 2009, was inspired by Lord Freud’s relationship with his own grandparents. In a recent interview he said: “I was thinking about the wonderful relationship I had with my grandparents. A grandparent’s role is very specific because, unlike parents, they’re non-judgmental. Even if you’re being an idiot, they offer a sympathetic ear. I mentioned the idea of setting up a ‘grandparent’ network to community groups I was working with in London. They said, ‘Put your money where your mouth is’. So I did!”

Our volunteers mentor young people across Hounslow, Islington, Ipswich and Folkestone. To find out how you can get involved, visit the Grandmentors project page.