Migle Rimonyte moved to the UK from Lithuania in 2012, finding work in a mental health charity project as an assistant services manager. After settling here, she began to seek ways to broaden her social network.
“The idea of finding some new friends and sharing good moments with other people; learning different things and listening to their stories really appealed,” Migle recalls, so she decided to get involved in voluntary charity work. “I didn’t have any specific charity in mind. I applied to a few, and Embracing Age came back to me."
“I was quite anxious to start as I never had experience of caring for elderly,” Migle recalls, “but listening to other people’s stories has always interested me, and the elderly have lots of them! On meeting the care home manager, I knew that things would be fine.” However, Migle couldn’t have anticipated the difference her time would make when she first met Ros, a former junior school teacher, at the care home. Ros taught for 38 years, before retiring in 1997. “I’d been at Alexander House for at least 10 years before receiving visits from Migle,” Ros explains. “It's made a great deal of difference – there aren’t many people here I can have a chat with, and Migle's good at making conversation.” Not long after her visits began, Migle discovered Ros wanted to learn some computer skills. “I was given a laptop and had started experimenting on it,” Ros says. “Donna, the home manager, suggested doing a newsletter.” “I'm not an expert,” Migle adds, “but I knew enough of the basics and began to teach her. Together, we started the Alexander House Newsletter!” “Migle is very good,” Ros remarks. “She makes me do a lot of it and doesn't take over if I'm making slow progress.” “All of the residents are really enjoying reading it,” Migle reflects. “We add lots of pictures and useful information about what's happening at the care home – its bringing joy to a lot of people helping them feel more connected.” The relationship is two-way, and they both enjoy a game of scrabble, while Ros has taught Migle how to do quilling. Together they make quilled cards that Ros sells to care home visitors, donating the profits to charity. A year after her first visit, Migle feels right at home, still enjoying every moment. “Ros always looks forward to my visits and plans our meetings. Volunteers only need to spare an hour a week, but the benefits are enormous!” “I've enjoyed everything with Migle,” smiles Ros. “It's lovely having her here and we do a variety of things together - today we're looking forward to going out for an ice cream!”