After volunteering for Crossroads Care Richmond & Kingston upon Thames during the pandemic, author Fiona Mitchell has now been appointed as their Media Officer. Here she tells us about her new role…
During the first pandemic lockdown, I wanted to help people adversely affected by it. I found out that Crossroads Care Richmond & Kingston were looking for volunteers.
Crossroads Care supports hundreds of unpaid carers and the people they care for in our community – through home and community respite care. But during the early months of the pandemic, they trained more than 50 volunteers to deliver shopping, medicines and other essentials to people who were self-isolating, as well as setting up and running a food bank. I became one of those volunteers.
I had many poignant exchanges with people as I undertook deliveries and answered the office telephone. When a person on the other end of the line, with no one else to talk to, starts to cry through the relief of making a connection with someone, that really stays with you.
I found myself working in a remarkable team that always went that extra mile to help people. I wanted to remain part of it all. Working as an editor and author sounds glamorous, but actually it’s very desk bound, so when Crossroads asked me to become an ambassador and help run a book club for carers, I jumped at the chance. A year later, when the Media Officer job became vacant, I sent in my CV and kept my fingers crossed.
I am relishing my new role. Not only do I get to write – fact rather than fiction, this time – but I meet the most inspiring people: unpaid carers who work 24/7 to support their loved-ones, as well as the highly trained care support workers who put everything into giving those carers a much-needed break.
It’s become apparent to me that kindness underpins all that the charity does. With this in mind, Crossroads has launched an Act of Kindness Christmas Appeal.
For many, Christmas is a time to celebrate. For others, it is a time of great loneliness – this is particularly true for older carers looking after someone with a debilitating health condition such as dementia.
For only £25, we will deliver a Christmas hamper filled with delicious goodies to local older carers in need. If you can help an older carer, log onto:
For more information about Crossroads, visit crossroadscarerk.org
• Fiona Mitchell is the author of The Maid’s Room and The Swap published by Hodder & Stoughton.