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Surbiton Home Volunteers

My Volunteering Story: Jenny Holden

Jenny Holden has been a volunteer at the Surbiton Home for three years. An exceptionally caring lady, Jenny is always thinking up little ways she can make a difference to the lives of residents. When Jenny isn’t helping with the choir, she can be found reading the newspaper to those no longer able to read independently, playing board games in the cafe bar, or supporting residents with their interests. Here, Jenny tells us why she volunteers and about a special friendship she has struck up with one particular resident.



“You will make a lot of cups of tea.” I was told that when I started volunteering at The Royal Star & Garter Home in Surbiton. When I remember that I smile, as I have had so many interesting chats over cups of tea in the cafe-bar.


Every Wednesday afternoon I have a Scrabble date. I always feel privileged to be invited into a resident’s own room. We clear the table and play a game of Scrabble (or two), drink tea and chat. We both aim to win, I rarely do.


I have learned a lot through playing Scrabble. For example, taking the time to consider every possibility and not assuming that the triple word tile is impossible to use when my word has strayed too near. I have been proved wrong so many times by my Scrabble partner about that.


We have a lot of fun. We both enjoy spotting new possibilities for words, ‘yes’ becoming ‘eyes’, or making a new word, while fitting in a column of two letter words beside it. The discussion afterwards about the ways we’ve used the high value letters and the words we know has become part of the game.


I watched the Surbiton Home being built and I am grateful to be able to volunteer there. I am also grateful for meeting so many residents who show me that growing older can be a positive experience.