Lord Mayor of Birmingham thanks volunteers at Longbridge Retirement Village afternoon tea celebration

Back, left to right: Chris Hill, Village Manager, Reg Bryant, Lady Mayoress, Ms Bushra Bi, Irene Lees, Sonia Jackson, Lord Mayor, Tracey Patel and Front: Lynne Wilson

Newly elected Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Mohammed Azim, attended an afternoon tea celebration at Longbridge Retirement Village last week – 5th June, to thank volunteers as part of national Volunteers’ Week, which ran from 1-7 June.

The Lord Mayor, joined by the Lady Mayoress, Ms Bushra Bi, was greeted by the villages’ volunteers for a celebration to recognise the difference its older and younger volunteers make to its vibrant community.

Longbridge Village is one of five retirement villages in Birmingham, developed and operated by the ExtraCare Charitable Trust, a registered charity of more than 30 years that exists to create better lives for older people.

More than 40% of the charity’s strong 2,269 volunteer force is made up of over 55s; at Longbridge 60% of its 122 volunteers fall into this age bracket. These numbers reflect the findings of the National Council for Voluntary Organisation’s recent report, which showed that 45% of people aged 65+ are most likely to have volunteered recently out of all age groups.

Resident volunteer at Longbridge Village Ann Woolacott said: “I began volunteering to give back to my community & reclaim a sense of purpose. Since my voluntary journey at ExtraCare began I have found it to be the most rewarding experience. I love to spending time with the residents, supporting them in different aspects of their day to day living, learning new skills, taking on challenges and being involved in a range of activities. It’s most enjoyable. And I’m thankful of the opportunity!”

Kirsty Patel, Volunteer Organiser at Longbridge Village comments: “As a charity, volunteering is at the heart of what we do. We rely on the support of thousands of volunteers to help us create better lives for older people. But it’s not just the residents who benefit from the positive impact of volunteers, the volunteers, no matter their age, can in return gain skills and experience, meet people and make new friends, and benefit from improved well-being associated with making a difference to others.”

The volunteer roles within ExtraCare’s villages are diverse and fulfilling and include helping in the charity’s fifty-plus charity shops, helping in village bars, cafes and gyms, getting involved in fundraising activities and supporting its award-winning well-being programme, and befriending residents who are isolated.

To register your interest as a volunteer at ExtraCare, people can contact: or 02476 506 011.