Volunteer development manager celebrates 15 years of service at Bield

Ruth Bowen

An Edinburgh volunteer development manager is set to be commended for her 15 years of service with Bield Housing & Care at this year’s annual general meeting.

Ruth Bowen will be acknowledged for her years of service and contribution to enriching the lives of older people at the housing provider’s AGM on September 20 in Edinburgh.

Ruth said: “I can’t believe I’ve been with Bield for 15 years. I really have enjoyed my time here over the years.

“A huge variety of people volunteer with us. We increasingly have young people wanting to help out, with some who want to gain experience before going onto college or university.

“Some volunteers have been with us for many years. Equally we have a lot of people who will volunteer with us for some time and then go onto find jobs - sometimes within Bield - because of the experience volunteering has given them.

“Every volunteer brings their own energy to the role, it’s amazing to see.

“Sometimes all one tenant needs is a gentle hand to get them involved in activities. Volunteers are there to encourage them to join in.”

Ruth added: “My days are very busy and varied. I work with a really good team and we are making changes at the moment in training and supporting managers and volunteers, as well as working to improve how we advertise and recruit volunteers.

“Bield is committed to growing our volunteer programme and improving their experience, so we also work to raise the profile of volunteering and help everyone see who is benefiting from it, including tenants and the volunteers themselves.

“So many different volunteer schemes have helped tenants, such as the Silver Surfer which helps older people get online, as well as one-to-one befriending and group social activities that improve the confidence of tenants.

“It’s really great to see - volunteers create great relationships with the tenants and staff they work with, and really help with their self-confidence and independence.”

When not focusing her time on recruiting volunteers, Ruth spends her days off playing the viola, often performing at regular events.

She said: “In my spare time I’m also a volunteer fundraiser at my daughter’s primary school, which is a great way for me to bring my work into my home life.”

Bield is currently looking for volunteers in West Lothian, Fife and Glasgow to help make a difference to the lives of older people. To find out more about volunteering with Bield, visit https://www.bield.co.uk/join-us/volunteering.

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