Reflections on Volunteering with our Elders Team

Over the last year Adalberto has volunteered with our Elders team. He was studying at the Royal College of Art and recently won a prize for his MA thesis. Here he recounts his experience of volunteering with us. 

“In September 2019, I found Katherine Low Settlement browsing through the Royal College of Art’s volunteering opportunities regarding age and community. After a month, I started volunteering at the centre as a mini-bus assistant to pick up the elderly members, walking, talking, serving meals, and eating with them. In January 2020, I also began interviewing the older members and staff to record their experience in the KLS community, the activities involved, and how coming to the centre changed their daily lives. Then lockdown happened. Since then, I have been friend-phoning the members weekly, keeping them company and making sure they had somebody who cared for them.

The warmth and satisfaction derived from taking part in these services, and the gratitude of the members was enormous!

Volunteering at Katherine Low Settlement helped me to understand the needs, challenges, and aspirations of the older generations. I developed a clearer understanding of how elderly members live, their habits, and ways of engaging with them. I also experienced how a community centre works, what kind of activities are offered, when, and why. I learned that the most crucial characteristic of a volunteer is showing to the members care and kindness and that the time dedicated to the service is valuable for the members and me.

This opportunity profoundly informed the research and development of my MA final thesis in interior architecture at the Royal College of Art. 
The project is entitled “The United Generation” and talks about an ecosystem designed to regenerate a community into a citadel of conviviality, leisure, and renewable resources between old and new generations. The project addresses the challenges of ageing well and the cultural gap between younger and older generations. It proposes to go back to an Arcadian archetype where community, sustainability, and simplicity are the assets for prosperous living.

I am incredibly grateful I took part of this volunteering experience at Katherine Low Settlement as it shaped not only a lifetime project but also who I am today.”

Volunteer at KLS

If you’d like to volunteer with us then please have a read of our latest Volunteering Opportunities at Katherine Low Settlement – List – 2020 and get in touch on 020 7223 2845 and [email protected]

Here is a small selection of some of the paintings that Adalberto included in his final MA presentation:

Crescent House Apartments: Friendship Bench – Coloured pencil and oil stick on digital print (29.7 x 20 cm)
Baths: Washing Feet – Coloured pencil and oil stick on digital print (29.7 x 20 cm)
The Arcadian Gardens: the Stables – Coloured pencil and oil stick on digital print (29.7 x 20 cm)

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