Ever wondered what volunteering with Mencap would be like? Well, this Volunteers’ Week we’re giving you an insight into what our amazing volunteers do - in their own words.

Meet Polly, a volunteer from Bristol, and Mary who she visits in her local area.

Tell us about yourselves

Mary: My name is Mary, I started off my life living in Redfield, as my dad was a milkman. For many years I was known as Mary from the dairy! In 1985, I came over to Bristol. I like 50’s and 60’s music, especially Dreamboats and Petticoats, which is in the local theatre soon. I also love dogs, and I used to have one until I moved here, as my sister used to breed them. I like watching quiz shows, my favourite is catchphrase, it was my mum’s favourite.

Polly: I’m Polly, I am currently a Bristol University student in my second year. I enjoy going to art exhibitions, and life drawing, and I really enjoy volunteering in the local community.

Fun fact

Mary: My boules teacher has the same birthday as me! He's lovely.

Polly: I have a pet pygmy hedgehog called Walter, he's very cute.

What do you do in your free time?

Mary: On Mondays I have my theatre group, we’re doing a play in May called ‘A Spark and a Beating Heart’. Normally we do the first performance at the Old Vic, but it’s shut at the moment, being redone, so now we’re doing it at Trinity Church. I enjoy it.

On Tuesday, I do boules or I see my boyfriend. Boules is a nice way of meeting with friends.  On Wednesday I see my boyfriend again. On Thursdays, not a lot - I get magazines, go for a coffee. On Friday I see my boyfriend. Once a month I meet up with my family friend Anne and sometimes we go to the cinema.

When did you get involved with Mencap?

Mary: I came here in 1985, my mum made me a life member of Mencap, but it was so long ago, I can’t remember!

Polly: Well I started volunteering with Mencap in October 2016. I recognised the name of the charity, did some research into their available schemes and I liked how they were able to work so locally. I applied online, through doit.org, did my induction and they paired me up with you, Mary!

Mary: That’s nice!

Polly: It is, I like how they took into account how local we are, makes things much easier!

What do you enjoy about your visits?

Mary: It’s nice to get to know the visitors, we get to go on walks, and you don’t disrupt my schedule. You just come with me to get my magazines, there is a friendly atmosphere and there is no pressure.

Polly: I’ve really loved getting to know you, Mary, and the people you live with. I love how casual it is, and how we both get to enjoy ourselves! We choose times that suit us both and do things we both love, like getting a coffee. Because we live so close, it means rescheduling isn't an issue, it’s really easy for us.

What do you want to get out of your visits?

Mary: Just the opportunity to make a new friend and get to know Polly better!

Polly: Likewise! Do you think it’s made a positive impact on your life?

Mary: I think so!

Inspired to volunteer in your local area?