What vol­un­teers mean to us

Cre­ate a real Jewish fam­ily at­mos­phere for older peo­ple in sup­ported shel­tered hous­ing

The Jewish Chronicle - JC Magazine - - Belmont Lodge -

VOL­UN­TEERS are the key to life at Bel­mont Lodge, a sup­ported shel­tered house in Bushey, run along Pro­gres­sive Jewish lines by Abbey­field Cam­den Jewish So­ci­ety. Through this hous­ing and sup­port, the so­ci­ety en­ables older Jewish peo­ple to lead happy, so­cia­ble and in­de­pen­dent lives, al­le­vi­at­ing the iso­la­tion that older peo­ple of­ten suf­fer.

Bel­mont Lodge has 10 res­i­den­tial units of vary­ing sizes, two of which are dou­bles, all with en-suite fa­cil­i­ties, fridges and kitchen sinks. Car­ing, friendly and ef­fi­cient pro­fes­sional staff look af­ter the daily needs of the res­i­dents by pro­vid­ing them with two, kosher, home-cooked meals a day and sup­ply­ing them with the in­gre­di­ents to make break­fast in their own rooms. Laun­dry and clean­ing is also pro­vided. Fri­day nights and ma­jor Jewish fes­ti­vals are ob­served com­mu­nally, with lo­cal rab­bis at­tend­ing when­ever pos­si­ble. Rel­a­tives and friends are al­ways wel­come to visit.

Bel­mont Lodge is vol­un­teer-led and a vol­un­teer house com­mit­tee ar­ranges a var­ied pro­gramme of so­cial ac­tiv­i­ties and out­ings for the res­i­dents. Reg­u­lar in-house ac­tiv­i­ties in­clude art and craft, keep fit, dis­cus­sions, quizzes, mu­si­cal en­ter­tain­ments and there are also out­ings to lo­cal con­certs, garden cen­tres and shows.

The house com­mit­tee also over­sees the man­age­ment of the pro­fes­sional staff and or­gan­ises other vol­un­teers who per­form the smaller tasks that make the lives of res­i­dents eas­ier and more pleas­ant. It is through the ef­forts of vol­un­teers, work­ing with staff, that the wel­fare and health and safety of res­i­dents is mon­i­tored and sup­ported.

The home does not pro­vide per­sonal or med­i­cal care, so if res­i­dents need the as­sis­tance of per­sonal car­ers, this must be ar­ranged for them from out­side sources.“It is im­por­tant to the so­ci­ety that its houses are non­in­sti­tu­tional, homely and so­cia­ble,” says a spokesper­son.

“We be­lieve we achieve this by be­ing vol­un­teer-led and that this is what sets Bel­mont Lodge and the so­ci­ety apart from many other res­i­den­tial home or­gan­i­sa­tions.”

Vol­un­teer involvement en­sures that the res­i­dents have the chance to meet a wide range of peo­ple.

It also keeps the costs down, so charges are lower than those charged by many com­mer­cial res­i­den­tial homes.

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