Denise Phillips is a dedicated volunteer at our Enliven Ranui care home in Alexandra.
It all started more than 20 years ago when Denise used to visit her mother-in -law who was a resident at Ranui, and when her mother-in-law passed away, Denise found herself continuing to visit the home. She says she would never have thought to approach somewhere like Ranui to volunteer but because she had experienced the home and had a connection to it, it was a natural progression. Twenty years on, and she is still going in twice a week to lend a hand.
Each Tuesday Denise helps with afternoon tea and music. Every Friday she goes in for Happy Hour with the residents where they have a drink and enjoy some live guitar. Denise encourages the residents to get moving and maybe even have a boogie to the music.
Over her years of volunteering she has also been on small bus trips when the staff needed a few extra helpers – they’ve been to places like Naseby and Ranfurly and they occasionally head to Roxburgh as a treat for a beer and a pie!
One memorable moment Denise remembers was a visit from a pianist who came in to play some music for the residents. The pianist had his back to the room full of people, happily playing away when suddenly the residents decided they could smell tea and all left one by one to go for their cuppa. By the time the pianist had finished and turned around to thank the room it was completely empty aside from Denise, her friend Maureen and the pianist’s wife! So, they clapped enthusiastically and had a giggle about it.
Denise says the smiles on the residents' faces when she arrives is the thing that motivates her to continue volunteering at Ranui. “The residents really appreciate it. The staff are also fantastic”. She says it’s a really nice place to spend time in between her daily walks and keeping busy with the gardening club she is involved in in Alexandra.
When asked what her favourite thing is about volunteering, Denise didn’t hesitate at all - “It’s the residents,” she said confidently.
Thank you so much for donating your time and energy Denise, and to all our volunteers at Presbyterian Support Otago, you are very appreciated!