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Nick Menhinick

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Nick Menhinick

My name is Nick Menhinick and I’m 75 years old. I arrived in Belfast some 13 years ago. Having left England in my early twenties, I have lived and worked in various parts of the world including Africa and Continental Europe.

With no friends or family this side of the Irish Sea and having retired early due to Ill health, a cross-roads in my life had been reached.  A foetal position type isolation loomed ahead before a fortuitous opportunity from The Housing Executive found me installed in Semi Sheltered accommodation in South Belfast.

Further, a chance encounter with an enquiring and enthusiastic employee from Volunteer Now brought me into contact with Men United a group set up to assist senior men in Belfast to combat Social Isolation.  This put me onto the road to volunteering: which is a pursuit that I would recommend to everyone.

Involvement can be as much or as little as you wish from a few hours a month to even a few hours daily and it has led to meeting many interesting people.  I was delighted to have the opportunity to chat to news presenter and journalist Martyn Lewis and Lord Lieutenant of Belfast, Fionnuala Jay-O’Boyle at an event to recognise groups who had been awarded the Queens Award for Voluntary Service, which Men Utd were one of.  I have been swept up with the sheer enjoyment of being part of a community and family which gives so much value and meaning to a myriad of people from all levels and walks of life.

Over the years I have held office (and still do) with organisations such as Engage With Age, Greater Belfast Seniors Forum, South Belfast Lifestyle Forum and also maintain strong links with Men United and Volunteer Now.

This current Coronavirus scenario has highlighted to me the value and benefits of volunteering.  Through IT platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, texting, video conferencing and good old-fashioned telephoning, I am able not only to be in touch (and assist when necessary) with Senior Citizens throughout Belfast, but also keep myself ‘together’ both mentally & physically.  This latter aspect is vitally important during this period of ‘Lockdown’.  My involvement with the Voluntary Sector has enabled me to deal with our current health dilemma in a positive manner and I’m sure will stand me in good stead until its conclusion.

The key watchword at the moment is PMT – Positive Mental Thought – and I feel my volunteering is definitely a conduit for my current positive state of mind.

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