Latest Stories 30 Years At Hestia: Valerie's Story I’ve worked at the Age Activity Centre (AAC) in Tooting for the past 30 years, and the time has finally come to retire. I started out here making tea, coffee and cakes for the members. My sister was the cook at the time and I used to come here and visit her until she sadly passed away. I’d been here for a while and had gotten to know the manager at the time, and so I was offered my sister’s role. I’ve always enjoyed my work with the AAC. It’s why I stuck around for 30 years! It’s changed so much in that time. The number of members has grown considerably, so much so that we had to move buildings, but we’ve always been here in Tooting. It’s like an extended family here for me, really. The members start coming in at about 10am and I get to have a good chat with them. I can get on with my work, but get to have great discussions with them. My friend has been coming here with me for 30 years – we used to do the tea and coffee together and have helped each other since. It’s been wonderful. There have been so many highlights. The choir here is fantastic, and Christmas is magical. I’ve been making the Christmas dinners here – pretty much on my own – for 30 years! Turkey and everything. It’s all about meeting new people. I’ve had the chance to go to the theatre with the group, to go to the seaside. I remember the group all doing Tai Chi in the hall, and I was in the kitchen copying them. It’s been like a day club for me, too! And of course, passing my health and safety inspection has always been a high point… I think I’ve stayed here so long because I got to know the people, I got to know the manager, and it’s where my sister worked. We’ve always done lots of fundraising for the AAC – concerts, bake sales, etc – and I remember my daughters here when they were really young, six or seven, dancing on stage during the concerts! It’s like a little community, a club. I’ve been here Monday to Friday for 30 years, so there are definitely friendships I’ve built that will continue into my retirement, and I’ll definitely be back to visit everyone here. I’d miss them all too much, otherwise! Volunteer at the Age Activity Centre Read more like this Sarah and Alina's Story: "Rebuilding our lives after modern slavery" Mo's Story: "Volunteering prepared me for full time work" Laura's Story: "I used to feel lonely but now I feel part of something bigger"