Volunteer Stories: Pat
Volunteer’s Week takes place 1-7 June every year to celebrate the hard work of millions of volunteers across the UK. Here at ACE IT we want to thank our 45 dedicated volunteers for the time they give to our charity – in 2022, this was a whopping 1580 hours.
We spoke to volunteer Pat Devine who has been selected to win an Inspiring Volunteer Award at Volunteer Edinburgh’s annual ceremony on 7th June, at the end of Volunteer’s Week. Pat volunteers for three ACE IT projects – one-to-one coaching, Moose in the Hoose and Get Smart at Hearts. He has also helped us to implement a new client management system. Pat has been volunteering with ACE IT for about 18 months now.
What made him want to volunteer for ACE IT? “I worked in IT for 35 years, so I was well aware of the challenges,” he said. “After retiring just under two years ago, I wanted to see if there was some opportunity to re-use those skills, in the same way that I’d been doing with family and friends, on a more formal basis.”
He volunteers at Royston Care Home once a week as part of the Moose in the Hoose outreach project, and finds this particularly rewarding. Here is just one example.
“One lady, we were sitting with the iPad and we were just talking – where did you grow up, I asked? Oh in Glasgow, Toryglen. She’s a very religious lady, and I just typed into the iPad “Toryglen, Church of Scotland, Glasgow” and up popped this video from the 1950s of what claimed to be Toryglen, and I asked, does that look familiar? And this lady said yes, that looks like where I grew up, so we played this video, a black and white video from the 1950s, of a construction site with a little hut that was the church. She’s watching this video and she saw her mum and her auntie walking along in the video. And she was almost in tears. We took a still from that and printed it off and gave it to her.”
Often when working with people with dementia, they will remember memories from long ago but not more recently, so being able to reminisce with them using technology can be incredibly satisfying for both volunteer and care home resident. Pat said they are also “amazed at the technology – even the simple thing of typing in your favourite song and having it pop up.”
With one-to-one coaching, it’s often the simple things that make it worthwhile, Pat added. He said: “Somebody came in one day with some software on their computer that kept saying ‘please subscribe’ and they just didn’t know how to get rid of it. And we uninstalled it, and she virtually skipped out the door because she was so happy that that nagging bit of software had gone.”
Reassurance is one of the most important things learners seem to need, particularly around scams. Pat said: “People are very worried about getting their money stolen and all that, and just giving people some simple guidance. If you don’t have an Amazon account, don’t worry about the fact that your Prime account is going to expire, because you don’t have one!”
“A lot of these people have been brought up in a way that if somebody sends you a letter you always respond to it, and those scammers play on that,” he added.
Congratulations to Pat on winning an award for all his hard work – we are certainly very grateful!
If Pat’s story has inspired you to volunteer, visit our Volunteer page here.