This website uses cookies to improve your experience. You can learn more about cookies and our cookie usage here - OK I have read that thanks
x
 Forgotten your password?

Volunteer

Interview with Volunteer Orderly at HMP Eastwood Park - March 2016

What attracted you to become a Ruby volunteer/orderly?

I was hoping to work in a different dynamic.  I find that more mature people are incredibly interesting, have broader views, experiences and perspectives.

 

What were your expectations working with the older ladies in the Rubies Group?

I knew there would be challenges trying to cater for the different needs of individuals and because I like to look after people I knew this would be a good role.

 

How would you describe the needs of the older prisoners?

The ladies are very independent.  In terms of their personal care they are quite straight forward and more complicated needs are met by nurses.  Aside from health needs, I think they just need to feel validated.  In here the majority of prisoners are under 30 and the older ladies seem to go unnoticed.  Because their behaviour is ‘normal’ and they don’t draw adverse attention to themselves, they are often overlooked.

 

You will be leaving us soon on release, what was the best bit of your job?

There are so many best bits!  Meeting and getting to know the ladies - they are funny, caring, genuine and brutally honest!  Meeting Alma has been a privilege – her unwavering support and genuine interest in the ladies is amazing.

 

And the most difficult?

Saying goodbye when they leave – but worse is when they come back.

 

What are you looking forward to the most on release?

Seeing my surrogate child Allan! (my cat).  Putting my new knitting skills to good use (thanks Alma!).  I also can’t wait to go shopping for a craft package to send back for the ladies.  And, of course, seeing my other half, Ian.  I’m even looking forward to doing his washing!

 

What advice would you give to the over 50’s in Eastwood Park?

Keep your dignity.  No-one can take that.  Support each other.  Look after yourselves.  Never forget how truly wonderful you all are.

 

Any ideas on how the Rubies could be improved?

This is difficult to answer because everything that can be done, Alma does.  She goes above and beyond for these women and they are so appreciative.  Improvements are beyond her control.  A bigger room and equipment (scissors for instance) would be great, but that can only be provided by the prison.  Funding and materials need to come from external sources.  Many Rubies have sent items in on their release, otherwise, Alma depends on the kindness of strangers to donate or, in her private time, tries to collect things to bring in.

 

What have you learnt from your volunteering job?

Aside from awesome crafty skills, I’ve become more confident.  The ladies have been so kind and accepting and I’ve been able to value my good qualities.  When I first came here, I believed I was a bad person, but they’ve made me realise that good people can make a mistake - that doesn’t make you bad, it makes you human.

 

Anything you would like to add?

I will miss Alma and the Rubies so much.  They have always made me smile, shown such compassion and understanding.  They truly are amazing women – each and every one of them has unique qualities that make them unforgettable.

 

Back to the Articles Index

Latest Tweets follow us!
  • RECOOP awarded @esmeefairbairn grant to fund new development work to support even more older service-users across t… https://t.co/VWSeqZTyet8:56am, May 22, 2019
  • Thank you @RNIB for visiting the Lobster Pot at HMP Leyhill and delivering a Confidence Building Course which was… https://t.co/nCAlLh6ckv9:37am, Apr 30, 2019
  • @Clinks_Tweets Great to have Paul Grainge with us from @RECOOP_UK to speak today. A national charity specialising i… https://t.co/U1VRcLoFgl10:56am, Apr 04, 2019
  • We’re pleased to be part of @clinks #flexibilityisvital and hope that momentum continues https://t.co/YqEKSW0p8v11:17am, Apr 01, 2019
  • Transition 50+ Resettlement Programme “really provides a focus for the men, some of whom have spent a very long tim… https://t.co/5r9ZKJ9D0n10:05am, Mar 18, 2019
  • Just published: 'A Different Sense of Time' – a portfolio of RECOOP’s age-appropriate services to aid prisons find… https://t.co/zGMs8LY5nu11:25am, Feb 19, 2019
  • Over 34,000 individuals benefited from RECOOP's 50+ Day Centres in 2018 https://t.co/FR4jwYZkZx10:29am, Feb 06, 2019
  • RECOOP’s Distraction Packs address the need for prisoners to “…. access stimulating in-cell activities to help them… https://t.co/axl9pTpqTS9:20am, Jan 23, 2019
  • We were delighted to be invited to The Langley House Trust’s carol service at The Knole in Cheltenham. Merry Christ… https://t.co/5XLyDRc0vA10:04am, Dec 20, 2018
  • We are delighted to have been awarded a further 3-year contract to continue to provide Day Centre provision for the… https://t.co/yuoYzJKnlp9:15am, Dec 18, 2018
Wednesday, May 22nd 2019
RECOOP has been successful in its application to the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation to fund some new development work to help even more older service-users across the country. RECOOP has received funding over three years to develop a suite of commercial ser...
RECOOP projects win Platinum Award 2014 & 2015