30,000 hours for CREST!

THREE selfless residents who have racked up 30,000 hours of volunteering between them have been celebrated.

Disabled, vulnerable and elderly residents have been able to confide in and rely upon the energy and enthusiasm of Valerie Siddiqui, Robert Hayward and Tony O’Brien for over two decades.

Between the trio, they have racked up 74 years of volunteering experience with Waltham Forest charity Christian Renewal for Education and Social Tasks (CREST).

Each volunteer had their own reason for getting involved.

Tony O’Brien of Cambridge Road in Chingford joined the organisation in 1995, one year after he retired from the police force.

“I found myself with some spare time on my hands and it was suggested I see if CREST needed any help.

“I have been there ever since.

“It is a wonderful group to belong to; a real privilege,” he said.

“I have certainly found in life that you can get back more than you give.”

Robert Hayward of Chestnut Avenue South in Walthamstow has volunteered for 24 years.

“I was made redundant when I was 34/35 and Cath Osbourne suggested I go and help out at CREST.

“It is a wonderful group. We have interesting speakers that come and give talks; to me it is very important that we never stop learning.

“I have met many interesting people, with interesting stories to tell. We play games with them and monitor games and sometimes I will do performances.

“CREST is really very special, there is nothing quite like the community in Waltham Forest. There is nothing better than being able to give back to this great community.”

Housewife Valerie Siddiqui was a volunteer for thirty years after deciding she wanted to help others.

“I get a lot of enjoyment from being with CREST.

“There are so many lovely people here. Each one of them has their own story to tell and I have had the privilege of learning something new about someone every day I volunteered.”

The trio have given up one day per week during their time with CREST, escorting service users on their way to the centre and helping them all day.

CREST, first set up in 1971, was one of the charities across the borough which has had funding cut by the council in the last 12 months.

Alan Horne, Manager of CREST, said “Without the fantastic commitment of volunteers like these three, such a service would not be able to continue.”

To find out more, or to volunteer, visit http://www.crestwf.org.uk/

CREST's volunteers Tony O'Brien, Valerie Siddiqui and Robert Hayward. Albany Court, 3 Albany Road, Leyton. EL85568_4
CREST’s volunteers Tony O’Brien, Valerie Siddiqui and Robert Hayward.

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