Sally Hill has volunteer and worked in animal welfare for the past 25 years, but recently she has taken up volunteering at Hatherleigh Nursing Home where she hosts a weekly craft club for the residents, fondly referred to as family members. Sally lives a few miles away from the Devon nursing home on a farm where she rescued, and now takes care of 25 dogs, 8 tortoises, 5 guinea pigs, a one-legged parrot, chickens, ducks, and a pair of tawny owls both injured in separate road accidents.

Sally worked as a veterinary nurse in Sussex previously and went on to open a unique animal care home which provided convalescent care to dogs and cats with complex care needs. Coming from an industry that depends on volunteers, Sally knew the value in volunteering and wanted to find a way to give back, particularly in adult social care due to her mother sadly living a dementia.

After approaching her friend who works at Hatherleigh Nursing Home, Sally was invited to organise a weekly craft session for the family members. She prepares all the material to make it as accessible as possible and chooses simple projects for all to enjoy. Her projects include, geo painting, button pictures, pin cushions, and paper flower arrangements.

“I love doing this, it is so much fun! We need more people to volunteer, after my time in animal welfare I can confidently say without volunteers there wouldn’t be rescues. Volunteering is vital. It’s a two-way road, you get what you give, it makes me feel really rewarded.”

Sally and family members created a welcome board which has been placed in the reception area, and they plan on putting a table of the crafts to sell and use the funds to go towards an outing or donate it to the Alzheimer’s Society. They will choose what they want to do with it, enabling and giving family members independence, a sense of purpose and placing them in the heart of community.

Hatherleigh Nursing Home is based in the small market town of Hatherleigh near Okehampton, Devon. It’s approach to life recognises the values, beliefs and identity of each person. Each person that may need support is unique and by understanding one’s life history, one’s journey in life, by striving to be a true continuation of home, the team at Hatherleigh Nursing Home create a place where everyone feels safe and never alone.