Chloe Townsend, 27, and Linda Duke, 73, both met whilst volunteering at The Grange Restaurant in Saunderton – home of Hearing Dogs for Deaf People. Over the past two years, they have developed a strong friendship that has extended way beyond their charity support.
Chloe joined The Grange Restaurant as a volunteer over three years ago following an accident. She needed ongoing therapy and felt that working front of house at The Grange was a step in the right direction. Linda joined as a volunteer about a year later, after her husband sadly passed away.
Both ladies were searching for something social, where they could meet new people and interact with others, but they also wanted a sense of making a difference and doing something worthwhile.
Their role at The Grange involves welcoming new and regular customers, serving food and drinks, and clearing tables and occasionally supporting the Gift Shop. They are often asked about the charity and can share wonderful insights and stories about Hearing Dogs for Deaf People and their life-changing work with clever dogs and personal support services. They particular enjoy meeting the regular customers, who appreciate the time taken to ask about their wellbeing.
While they feel the role, Front of House, sounds quite grand, they explain that “they are essentially volunteer waitresses”. However, all our volunteers are critical to the success of The Grange and our ability to make a surplus to donate to the Charity. Without them, we could not function. They give their time for free to greet customers and ensure they enjoy their meal. Volunteers are incredibly important to us at Hearing Dogs, but it works both ways: our volunteers love being part of our big, extended ‘family’.
The wider team Chloe and Linda work beside are friendly, and they have all developed a good rapport. Chloe says, “Between the two of us, we have developed a very good friendship, and we regularly meet up for a glass of wine outside our volunteering. We’re really keen to extend this to the other restaurant volunteers, meeting up at The Grange initially, and hopefully this will then lead to further meetings.”
After the isolation many people have felt during lockdown, the connection Chloe and Linda have forged has provided a real boost to their lives.
If you would like to become a part of the Hearing Dogs volunteering family, please visit our website to find out more. We provide you excellent support and training, and you will have a lot of fun as part of the team.