Move Mates has many different volunteers, from students to people who are retired. We aim to be as inclusive to our volunteers as we are to the people we walk with.
Andrea shared with us her story, and her motivation for volunteering as a Move Mate
Andrea explains that she was previously very fit and had worked as an occupational therapist. She had an infection that triggered rheumatoid arthritis and this, alongside the onset of osteoporosis, meant a huge life change for her. She had been working in the outpatient department in a role that involved a lot of sitting. This meant it was difficult to manage her symptoms, as she found it best to try and keep active, walking really helped with this.
She was medically retired and then, as she was clinically extremely vulnerable, she spent a lot of time pacing around the garden during lockdown, the only way for her to get exercise at this point. Once restrictions lifted, she found herself having to adapt her life. Experiencing the massive change from working full time in a role with a purpose to trying to establish a structure for her new way of life made her look for ways she could feel useful. She was keen to use her skills in enabling and supporting others to reach their goals.
Andrea had also experienced a loss of confidence in her body, she looks physically fit but some days she can be a bit stiffer and her pace slower. She has to remember her limitations and pace herself. Initially, she did some voluntary litter picking which had felt ok but she was keen to do something where she could interact with others as she describes herself as very sociable and enjoys being with other people.
“Walking and talking is perfect: good for mental health and good for physical health.”
Andrea, Volunteer Move Mate