Archive Ambition
Philip Prideaux
Missing photo: Senior archivist

VOLUNTEERING

It's long been a wish of mine to provide our commercial service FREE to those in need. And I don't just mean the needy. It could be for those down on their luck, have become depressed over an incident in life.

Some years back, a very lovely elderly woman had to move into a nursing home. I knew her very well and I was saddened by her demise after that. She had become unable to walk and live independently. I took her for sight seeing in my car and when that was unwise, I took her for rides in a wheel chair around the nursing home. I was able to sit and chat with the many residents there, often at cup of tea time, and they really enjoyed a visiting friendly face. Ha, and so did the staff I think. Good someone to help they probably thought. I often felt to involve myself that way again.

Now to supply a few of their photos in a small album, and there can be two ways to do it, would give them a boost to their worth, to who they are and their rightful place in the world. To see the joy in those folk when I was there was heartening.

I want to take the laptop with me to visit such people, plug in my scanner, give a powerpoint presentation if they like and return to each of them with half a dozen of their photos that are improved, captioned and presented in pages as a precious keepsake. This can be provided in one or two ways. The first is images and captions in A4 pages shown password protected online (Internet). I already have that process in place as a free trial to customers to try before they buy.

(This offer is not currently available to the general public)

The other is to provide the A4 pages printed in a small folder to keep by their side, only if the institution allows it of course. There can be an added activity for them when I'm not there as something to do, namely to type or have typed some captions into a form as they view their photos online. If a small folder is provided, then someone has to pay it and hopefully I can when funds permit. There may be reasons why it is preferred not to supply a print out but it can be printed again if stolen for instance.

To want to help those in need with a little something regularly is often in my mind, and of course I'm not alone with that thought. I think it could benefit those severely troubled in life and institutionalised because of it. Sure it might promote business too. I do need paying customers but that is not the main reason for my action here. I think it will be hard to convince establishments that that is the case, we’ll see.

Already, it has been said to me that those suffering dementia such as many in nursing homes would be unsuitable. Well yes as paying customers, maybe. I can't deny though that they pass on the work to their family who might purchase some more. It could be that retirement homes not want to see their residents pay money into outside activity that they don't themselves provide. Again, we'll see.

Could it be seen as cross promotional? Yes maybe, but I think of it as a means to an end to achieve both the passion I have to help the needy and a passion I have to help promote the dignity gained for anyone to document his/her family history that I felt when I did mine some 10 years ago.

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