News & Events

Happiness is… volunteering

May 6, 2021

If you want to be happier, try volunteering. That’s the advice of Kim D’Angelis who coordinates OCAV’s 205 volunteers across each village and Liscombe House.

“Over the eleven years I have been here, I have seen that volunteers aren’t just helping the residents, they also experience a boost in self-confidence, and in their health generally,” Kim said.

Her observations are supported by several research studies including a study published last year in the Journal of Happiness Studies. The study examined data from nearly 70,000 people in the UK who were asked questions about their volunteering and mental health.

“The study showed that compared to people who did not volunteer, volunteers were more satisfied with their lives and rated their overall health as better,” Kim said.

“That is certainly the case at OCAV, and their positive attitudes certainly contribute greatly to every project they work on.”

From Kim’s perspective, the majority of activities happening across every village and in Liscombe House would not be possible without volunteers.

“They are the foundation of much of what we do, and their contribution is appreciated by residents and staff,” Kim said.

The volunteers are aged from 18 to 92, and are working in the Life Story project, music therapy, kiosks, one-on-one visits, pet therapy, men’s groups, outings, church services, exercise, tech support, meditation, and so on the activities go.

Last year OCAV had to pause many of the activities because of the COVID-19 lockdown, resulting in volunteers looking elsewhere to keep occupied during the long winter. Now with activities slowly re-opening, Kim is once again re-engaging with OCAV’s long-term volunteers and bringing new volunteers in.

She hopes to see volunteer numbers grow, having younger people involved not least to break down age stereotypes, and a broader range of activities to offer volunteers and residents.

There are endless ways to become involved, according to Kim, but crucial to a happy relationship is the need for volunteers to be reliable, patient, passionate, humble and have great interpersonal skills.

This week is Volunteering Week.  The theme is Recognise. Reconnect. Reimagine. If you are interested in volunteering with OCAV, please contact Kim on



"I love the fact that Rushall Park residents and volunteers are so active – contributing to life in the village. The sense of the community is strong which is why I put my name on the waiting list" - Maggie Birkett.

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