Volunteering - Bob Taylor's story
Bob Taylor, who has Parkinson's, tells us how his interest in
art and laughter therapy has helped other people affected by
Volunteering after Parkinson's diagnosis
I take art and laughter therapy to local groups of Parkinson's UK, carers' groups and other groups who may benefit.
"I was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 1998 when I was 44. I
had my own building company but made the decision to give it up in
2001, partly due to my condition, but also to allow time to explore
my other interests, such as art.
"I wanted to do some volunteer work and so began tutoring an art
group at Goldie Leigh hospital for people recovering from a stroke
or brain injury.
"I learnt a lot from tutoring this groups. Most of the patients
had been told that they had lost their short term memory, and that
it would never return. They actually remember many things, but fail
to notice them, because they are too busy telling people what they
"The skills learnt in the art classes helped the group
concentrate on what they could remember, rather than on what they
Art therapy for people with Parkinson's
"I soon began to realise the healing potential that art therapy
had for people with Parkinson's. I applied for a grant and set up
an art group for people with Parkinson's and carers. The group now
meets weekly and we welcome anyone with a long-term condition.
"Everyone says they can't paint or can't draw. I think if I
can get people to change their beliefs about art, then maybe I
can get them to reflect on other areas of their life.
Laughter therapy for local groups
"I'm also a laughter therapy facilitator. Laughter therapy
encourages people to come together in a group and laugh. This
releases endorphins, which improves the mood and helps relieve
"I take art and laughter therapy to local
groups of Parkinson's UK, carers' groups and other groups who
"I don't know all the answers, but I have the desire to improve
the lives of others and empower anybody who is open to improving
their own life, either by giving or receiving.