by Mo Butler 

The most important thing L’Arche has brought me is the realisation that I have led an extremely privileged life.

I have been a volunteer at L’Arche for over 11 years. And at 80 I'm probably the oldest volunteer. I’ve seen many members of the Community come and go – and made so many friends over the years. I look forward to my volunteering on Friday every week, and really miss it when I'm not able to go. 

I have had various roles, including in the Craft workshop, where I could see so much artistic talent in people with learning disabilities; in the admin department, doing simple jobs that freed others to do the important work; and now at the Garden, where we do cooking the day I'm there. 

Only coming in one day a week, I often discover talents that assistants have uncovered or introduced people to since my last visit. For instance, Marlene, who is a brilliant knitter and sewer; Derek and Kevin, artists with their individual styles who have exhibited their works in public exhibitions; Carmel, who is a gifted pianist; Sharon, who I find difficult to understand, but has a wicked sense of rhythm; or Jason, who could be a Mastermind contestant, with his encyclopaedic knowledge of railways. 

I have only been volunteering since I retired - and I wish I had been involved much earlier. I live locally and frequently bump into people from L'Arche when I am out and about, often with an assistant I have not met before, and they are always prepared to spend time with me. We really are a Community. 

Working at L’Arche has taught me a lot about people whose lives are very different from my own and I have learned so much from them.

Fancy volunteering with us?