4 Apr 2017

Volunteering in London

Pamela Marie Faber is a qualified nursing sister, a midwife and a public health inspector and she works as a volunteer at St Teresa’s Home.

How long have you been volunteering for Sisters Hospitallers?

I’ve been here for 17 years. But I’ve been volunteering most of my life; for animals, for children, for care homes… I enjoy it, and I would like to do some good. I’ve been blessed and I would like to pass on some blessings!

Why did you decide to start volunteering in St Teresa’s Home?

I was asked to come and sing Christmas Carols for the residents although I cannot sing to save my life… –I  did sing in the school choir but I’m afraid that was many years ago!– and I thought that would be wonderful.

It is very important for the residents to have a purpose in their lives

Then they asked me to stay, and I did so with pleasure: I became an Occupational Therapist. We did painting, tapestry, embroidery, knitting, and virtually everything… but mostly painting, that was the priority.

How does it help the residents?

I think it’s very important for them to have a purpose in their lives. I believe they enjoy the community work when we sit around the table and chat; they all do things, we look at each other’s work and have a laugh and lots of humour… and humour is very important. So we try to keep them happy and get together.

I love being here. I love the sisters and the staff, and the elderly are lovely

When do you usually volunteer?

Every Thursday. But I come here whenever they need me. I stay for lunches, and in the afternoon I help with the teas.

And I love being here. I love the sisters and the staff, and the old people are lovely. It’s become a very happy place for me to be in.

Tell us about something nice that you remember…

I remember Monica, who did tapestry, she was doing a beautiful work. She was very intelligent and very quiet, but we could get her to laugh and be with us.

Then we had some very good painters. One of them was a commercial artist who did art for commercial companies. We had about 12 people who participated, we did different things so we all had different interests to talk about, we had lots of things to share.

Any bad experiences?

No. Initially I found it very hard to cope with coming and finding empty chairs of people I was working with and were no longer with us. So that was quite hard for me. But I realised that this is life and they are in a better place. That was the only thing that used to make me ponder.

I spend here a lot of time and get to know their personal lives, and all the things that they share with you… I used to put my arm around Anthony, who passed away a few weeks ago, and say “Are you still my boyfriend?” and he would look at the ladies and they would all say “No, no!” There was a lot of humour, he was a sunshine person… So nothing bad has happened at all, just sadness. It’s inevitable.

Are you planning to stay here for a long time?

God willing. At the moment I’m here and this is where I’m good. I don’t see myself going anywhere in the foreseeable future.