Teo was born in Romania in 1959. After moving to the UK, he volunteered at Manor Gardens for around fourteen years.
In 1991, a month after arriving in the UK, Teo met the organiser of the centre’s Stroke Club. He was looking for activities to fill his time and to improve his English and began volunteering with the club. Teo remembers days out at Southend and Brighton and fondly recalls the club’s humour-filled Scrabble tournaments.
‘There was always, always something to joke about.’
Teo was especially taken with how the Stroke Club collected people from their homes and brought them together at the centre.
‘It’s quite something to know that you’re not alone … It was a wonderful idea … I still consider it really, really good.’
He believes that the club cultivated a strong sense of community and was important to people’s recovery process, letting those affected know that they were not alone and providing them with support and stimulation.
Teo also spoke about the other projects he helped with over the years, including a Black Men’s Health Awareness project, and helping stroke survivors in their own homes.
Volunteering at the centre allowed Teo to help others and also greatly improved his English, which would ultimately help him to find paid employment. He recalls that the staff were always happy to help him even after his time at the centre. For Teo, Manor Gardens felt like an extended family.
Teo says that there is something special about volunteering. You give not only your time, but also yourself and hope that what you do will help others.
Interviewed by David Meyer on 3 and 4 December 2013.