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Volunteering is the key to a happy retirement

16 June 2016

Estate Activities

When Barbara Wren retired from her role as manager of Sandringham Court in 2013 she missed the residents so much that she decided to team up with veteran volunteer Audrey McMullen to help combat loneliness and isolation at the Hanover Housing Association property in North Tyneside.

Since returning to the estate, Barbara has brought with her a passion for music which means that residents are treated to a host of entertainers, music quizzes and themed sing-alongs covering the ‘40s, ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s. That has also seen her organise a fundraising quiz for the Marie Curie Cancer Care charity where all the songs had the word 'yellow' in them.

In addition to the music nights, the dynamic duo hold regular coffee mornings, bingo, indoor bowls and at least two fundraisers a year to help pay for the activities enjoyed by the residents.

66-year-old Barbara said: 'After working full time for nearly 50 years it was a real struggle to finally slow down and just relax. I was also missing the wonderful camaraderie between the staff and residents at Sandringham Court.

'When the opportunity came up I jumped at the chance to work with Audrey and now we spend most of our time putting a smile on residents’ faces. I have also discovered that I can no longer sing and dance at the same time for more than five minutes!'