Volunteering Volunteer stories Gerry Smith - Older Volunteer of the Year 2021 Gerry Smith was nominated for the Older Volunteer of the Year Award at our 2021 Southwark Stars for the fantastic work he's been doing with Blackfriars Settlement. Read more about his work and important place in the Blackfriars Settlement team below: " Gerald Smith has been a volunteer for our Positive ageing Services for the past three and a half years. He came to us first as a volunteer to help our members to get online. He started our IT support sessions weekly on Friday afternoons for 3 hours. During the last year we switched our services to work remotely. Not being able to come to the Settlement each week was extremely challenging for vulnerable members. Isolation increased and health and mental wellbeing was on a downward spiral. Our workload doubled and we had to find ways to support our members. Gerald Smith came forward to support us with, delivering meals and goody bags, and helping members with shopping. For many of our members Gerald was the only face to face human contact, as they stood at their front doors and had a brief chat and connects to the outside world. His caring personality and never ending, listening ear, was much appreciated by all. We have one 92 year old member whose television broke early in lockdown. We had a TV donated and Gerald installed it and set it up so that she had this to use during what was a very difficult time. Every isolated member who received a meal delivered by Gerald also received bouquet of daffodils from him to cheer them up. It came naturally for Gerald to plant some flowering plants outside an isolated member’s home, who has dementia, to put a smile on her face. He also set up a dementia friendly clock in her kitchen, to reduce confusion with dates and times. On Christmas day Gerald was one of our volunteer drivers, who helped us to deliver a three course celebration meals to 65 isolated members alone at Christmas. Gerald, of course, came aptly dressed as an Elf and delivered the meals and put great big smiles on their faces. He has spent a few days working with an 89 year old member to reduce his telephone bill, which has been extremely high over two years. Gerald facilitates two zoom quizzes every week. These include visually impaired members on the phone. Gerald’s weekly feedback, reporting to us, is always clear, in time and detailed. He never fails to alert us to any issues which need our attention. Gerald is a library of useful information and advice to our team. He even brings us flowers to cheer us up. Gerald Smith is an asset to our Services. There is no end to his caring and energy. His volunteering is beyond our expectations. We feel nominating Gerald Smith for Southwark stars would be a very special Thank You for all his support for our isolated older people in the community. "