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"It feels great to give back to my community."

Preeti is the Volunteer Coordinator at Mill End lunch club and has been volunteering with Royal Voluntary Service for six years. Preeti and her team of volunteers give their time so that older people can come together with friends new and old to enjoy tasty food and good company. Hosting five lunches each week, Preeti works very hard to ensure everything runs smoothly and the lunch club is enjoyed by all.

"When we moved to Rickmansworth six years ago, I was eager to connect with my new community and Play My Part. I thought volunteering locally would be the perfect opportunity. Soon after, I began volunteering with Royal Voluntary Service at Mill End Lunch Club.

"Volunteering is something that has always appealed to me, I have also been keen to serve others and give my time to my community.

"I have recently taken on more responsibility and stepped into the role of Volunteer Coordinator. On top of standard responsibilities like helping to set up the tables, preparing tea or coffee, helping to serve lunch, tidying and locking up, I also help in recruiting new members, running stalls and community events to promote the club, and simply making sure everything is going smoothly. As a volunteer, it’s not just the practical tasks that are important, spending time chatting and getting to know diners means so much too.

"The community is my favourite part; I love connecting with my fellow volunteers and all the lunch club members. It feels great to give back to my community.

"I really enjoy spending time with the diners, listening to their stories, and also being a support for them and hearing about their concerns. Having someone there who is willing to listen and help can mean a lot for our diners. Many live alone and may not have family or friends nearby. The club is so important in keeping them socially connected and reducing loneliness, which can impact a person’s health. It’s a great opportunity for them to enjoy a warm, healthy meal and friendly conversation - something that for many would not be possible without the lunch club.

"Giving back and helping others is really important to me and it’s something I genuinely enjoy. During school holidays I like to bring my children along to help out too. The diners enjoy having children around and getting to interact with them. My kids, like me, find the whole experience very fulfilling. It’s been a great way for them to learn how to engage with older people and give back to others.

"I am a very outgoing person, so I enjoy getting to chat with all the diners and hearing about their life experience. The diners keep me entertained with their stories. One of our diners was in the army, and she was enlisted all over the world, we all feel very proud of her and cherish hearing stories about her time in service and how she held her own as a woman in a male-dominated profession.

"Volunteering makes me happy! It has helped me make new friends and taught me to make a very good cup of tea and coffee! I always look forward to going to the lunch club. The diners are always so appreciative and hearing them thank you for your time and effort makes it all so rewarding."

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