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Celebrating the volunteers at the Orders of St John Care Trust Homes

It’s National Volunteers Week, 1 – 7 June: thank you!

London, 5 June 2020

Volunteer Don Wagstaff  with Head of Volunteering Catherine Semmence 

Matthew Wilby is a Companion of the Order and an Orders of St John Care Trust Homes (OSJCT) volunteer befriender. He describes his role: ‘My role is a Befriender. I’m a friend to the residents and a familiar face. I strike up a conversation, listen and talk about anything and everything. I have yet to meet a resident who hasn’t got a fascinating life story to tell. I’m company for those who are lonely or just need a helping hand with activities. Sometimes this is in a group or one-to-one. Over time you learn what residents like, such as playing dominoes or simply going for a walk around the garden, or just a good chat over a cup of tea.’ Catherine Semmence, Head of Volunteering for the Trust, adds ‘Matthew’s been an incredible support to our Larkrise Home.’ 

Making the difference 
At the Larkrise Care Centre, Banbury, Home Manager Lyndsey Sard says to those who might like to consider volunteering: ‘Please do! It is time well spent. You will make lots of new friends, both residents and staff. There will inevitably be times of sadness, but for the most part it is a real joy, and you will come away with a sense of achievement knowing that you have made such a difference in somebody’s day. 

‘Matt has been a fantastic asset to Larkrise, he comes in with a big smile and he plans to make everyone happy. He volunteers with us on a Saturday alongside our activity coordinators and is always looking at what residents are doing and what they want to do more of. Matt isn’t just a volunteer, but like all our volunteers, he’s a member of our team. Without volunteers we would not be able to offer our residents all of the amazing activities or events that we put on.’ 

Helping boost morale
In response to the pandemic, Catherine says: ‘The Companions of the Order have been incredibly generous and supportive throughout this difficult time, stepping forward to donate their time to support our Homes, or being on standby for when they may be needed. On top of that, they’ve sent gifts, cards and best wishes to the Homes’ staff to help boost morale and let them know that they’re in their thoughts and prayers. We can’t thank them enough – it’s meant so much to the Homes teams and our residents. We’re delighted that some of the Companions volunteering in our Homes are going to stay on as volunteers on a more permanent basis.’ 

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The mission of the Order of Malta is inspired by its tradition of ‘Tuitio Fidei et Obsequium Pauperum', to assist the poor and the sick, and bear witness to the Christian faith.


The Sovereign Order of Malta is a sovereign subject of international law. The Order - which is based in Rome, in via Condotti - has its own Government, an independent magistracy, and bilateral diplomatic relations with 110 countries.


The Order of St John of Jerusalem is one of the oldest institutions of Western and Christian civilisation. Present in Palestine in around 1048, it is a lay religious Order, traditionally of military, chivalrous, noble nature.