Last year Phillip Potter, a carer for his disabled wife, faced a difficult winter. But things are looking up. Phillip has learnt life-saving first aid skills, met new people and will be busy helping party-goers over the festive season.
Phillip didn’t plan to become a volunteer. At first he just needed some help when his caring duties became overwhelming.
He explained: “I stayed in and looked after my wife all day, every day. I never seemed to have any time to myself and I began to feel the strain of being a full-time carer. I felt low but wasn’t sure how to break up the routine.”
Someone to talk to
A local carers association referred Phillip to the Red Cross. Phillip met our volunteer, Bob, at the local library every week. They enjoyed a cup of coffee and Phillip got an hour's respite from his caring duties. He also got a chance to talk through how he was feeling.
Bob, who is semi-retired, has been volunteering with us for just over a year. He said providing a listening ear is sometimes all that is needed to help improve a person’s situation.
“Phillip was feeling the strain of being a full-time carer and was at a low point. He had lost his motivation and felt things were getting on top of him.
“We met regularly for a number of weeks and just had a good chat. Sometimes it helps talking to someone from the Red Cross, rather than a family member or close friend, as we are a neutral party and won’t make any judgements.
“I put Phillip in touch with some local clubs but I think that just getting out of the house for a couple of hours and having someone to chat to helped Phillip enormously.”
A new lease of life
In fact, Phillip was so inspired by the support he received he decided to sign up as a volunteer himself. He arranged a routine to provide his wife with the care she needed whilst leaving him time to follow his own interests.
“I have to be organised to fit everything in, but having some time doing the things I enjoy means I am a much happier person and much more motivated.
“It’s nice to get out and know that I’m helping other people. Volunteering has given me a new lease of life.”
Phillip signed up to become an event first aid volunteer and is now busy improving his first aid skills. He regularly attends local events, including rugby matches, marathons and festivals.
He will also be on duty looking after revellers enjoying Christmas parties in North Wales over the festive period.
“I’d encourage anyone to volunteer – it’s helped make such a difference to my life.”