Nancy Brown is quite possibly one of the city’s busiest women – and she is just turning 72.
If she’s not making wigs or styling amateur dramatics performers’ hair backstage on the region’s theatre circuit, she’s out assisting with countryside walks to help people enjoy healthier lifestyles.
Now, PFH is delighted that Nancy, who lives in West Hull, is gifting some of her time to our residents as well, after recently becoming the latest recruit to our expanding team of volunteers – she is the tenth person to become part of this hugely beneficial initiative.
Launched in 2017, our Volunteering Programme focuses on sharing skills, befriending and socialising – it’s going from strength to strength and really beginning to have a positive impact on our residents’ lives. Volunteers can spare as much or as little of their time as is convenient to them.
Nancy – who previously enjoyed a 30-year career in managing residential homes – already had long-standing links with Claire Champlin, PFH’s Independent Living Manager, thanks to her involvement in the Older People’s Partnership’s countryside walks. She was keen to do some work with PFH too, despite this taking her volunteering work to anywhere up to 20 hours each week.
“When you retire, as I did last year from my role managing Hull Minster’s café, you find there is a definite void and it’s easy to see how quickly you can slip into not doing very much,” explained Nancy.
“There are several really important things in later life in my view and they include family, friends, good food, a good social life and getting yourself out and about – not much else matters, as it’s about having a sense of purpose.
“Initially I am visiting residents at Christopher Pickering Lodge and Ada Holmes Circle. I am taking it slowly and giving the residents chance to get to know me rather than just diving in with an agenda of activities.
“I go along with a packet of biscuits and the local newspaper, have a cup of tea and perhaps do a quiz to start off with – the rest just flows from there. I read funny poems or we do some crafts. We also organised a horse racing afternoon during one of the Bank Holidays and just placed small bets on old race meets, as residents told me that was often a time they didn’t see anyone.
“Volunteering keeps me young, it’s important to stay active and keep walking, which is why I have also been assisting with walks for over 15 years now. I also work backstage for lots of amateur dramatic groups and youth theatre doing their stage hair and wigs, which came about because I was a hairdresser back in the 60s.
“I would urge anyone who is considering volunteering to try it, you can give up as much or as little time as you want and the benefits you enjoy yourself are well worth it. I certainly sleep well at night, that’s for sure!”