She’s a busy mum-of-four juggling a part-time job with children from toddler to teenager. But that hasn’t stopped Dawn Warttig adding another role to her hectic life – volunteer driver.
And far from complicating things, it has introduced another welcome dimension to her family, with her young daughters enjoying the interaction with guests and vice versa.
The 38-year-old was already aware of the difference a little kindness and company could make to an older, isolated person through her previous job as a Women’s Royal Voluntary Service coordinator for meals on wheels and community transport.
So when she moved from the city of Stirling to a village in the countryside, she knew she wanted to contribute to the local community. She soon spotted Contact the Elderly posts on the Village of Kippen Facebook page and, once alerted to the charity’s work, set about offering her services.
Becoming a driver was the perfect role and for the past five years – with a break for maternity leave – she has been one of the charity’s volunteer chauffeurs, initially serving Stirling and now with the Kippen 2 group.
“Some people can write off elderly people and don’t see them as people who have had a full life before we have known them,” she said. “But I just love hearing their stories.
“Very often they have really exciting, cool tales to tell and I find that really interesting. I love hearing about people and the lives they’ve had, getting to know them and they, in turn, get to know you and your family.”
Dawn, a receptionist, has sons Euan (18) and Harry (6), daughters Lola (7) and Belle, aged two, and would encourage other mums to get involved.
“Don’t let the fact that you’re a busy mum, with lots on, put you off because it’s only a couple of hours a month and it’s so worth it. None of it is insurmountable and if the children can be included the guests just love that, having younger people to chat to makes their day. Lola loves getting involved too. One Christmas she designed and hand-delivered Christmas cards to the guests in our group. I was volunteering right up until two weeks before I had the baby. Later I took Belle out with me and the guests shared in that. It just shows it really doesn’t take much to make such a difference. ”