Below is Sherryl's story of volunteering at Connect Centre.
"Whilst searching google for a local Christmas volunteer opportunity in Mendip a few years ago I found the Elim Connect Centre in Wells. My family living and working far and wide were unable to get home for Christmas Day so I felt I might be useful elsewhere. Having contacted the centre in advance I went along Christmas morning unsure of what was expected of me, only to be warmly greeted by staff and other volunteers all total strangers so I was a little shy. Some like myself were new on the day and some were 'old hands' at the job so we were introduced and named tagged and ready for the day.
I remember feeling immediately inspired by the enthusiastic organisation towards giving everyone the best of Christmas Day for whatever reason there were at the centre. I could see it in their faces and it was a sort of 'light bulb' moment for me. I was simply missing my family for a day but for many this was everyday life, just hoping for someone to stop and listen, understand and show they care.
I have helped at Connect on many subsequent Christmas lunches and now I am retired I help on weekly basis at the Wednesday Community Lunch in Wells as well as regularly helping in the office additionally.
It's become an important part of my week and I feel now that had I known somewhere like Connect back in 1981 at a 'wobbly' time in my life then it might have been so much better for me. Over time, I have a better understanding of what the Elim Connect Centre is all about. I feel a close bond with my fellow volunteers and appreciate the gratitude shown for our help in the social get togethers that are arranged as well as just a warm hug on a bad day given without a thought.
A friend once said something that has remained with me to this day "Don't let your past take away your future." This is a helpful phrase and may be helpful to someone reading this story. "
We all have a story to tell that will encourage, comfort and inspire others to experience the warmth and generosity life has to offer as Sheryl has done. Thank you for sharing your story and for being part of the amazing team of volunteers at Elim Connect Centre.