Peggy and Amy's Story

The COVID-19 outbreak has caused undeniable sadness and hardship for many, but amidst the pain you may have heard tales of kindness and selflessness that have lifted your spirits.

The Compassionate Community Connector programme (run by Communities 1st)  relies on volunteers to support vulnerable and isolated people in the local area. Volunteering is at its best when the relationship between volunteer and ‘client’ becomes a story of connections made, mutual respect and sharing without expectation.

One example of this was when Communities 1st introduced Peggy, a vulnerable woman in her 90s, to Amy, a young volunteer who brought the warmth of friendship back into her life.

Their story began with Peggy’s daughter, who was worried about her mum coping whilst living a few hundred miles away. She discovered the Communities 1st shopping delivery service, through which Peggy could receive her regular weekly shopping.

Peggy is a busy and independent woman in her early 90s, who in her past worked at Bletchley Park. In ‘ordinary’ times Peggy would be out a few days a week, meeting friends from her local church, helping out at the day centre, having coffee with friends or visiting garden centres.

Although she had given up her regular keep fit classes at 90, she still likes to keep active, and uses her chair bike in the garden in warmer weather. (She is however, not sure if she is ready for a session with Joe Wicks!)

Like many other, Peggy is confined to her house now and worries about her family, particularly her grandsons. She has kept herself busy with phone calls from friends and family, or meeting people in her support bubble when permitted. She has the iPad, jigsaws and crosswords to occupy her and, although alone, has not been lonely. For Peggy laughter is always the best medicine, and she recalls how she laughed hopelessly as she attempted to learn the dance routine for Strictly’s Big Night In.

Amy, a volunteer shopper and telephone befriender with Communities 1st, was recruited to deliver Peggy’s groceries and the pair’s friendship soon became something special. Peggy refers to Amy as the granddaughter she never had. Amy has gotten to know Peggy so well that if the lemon mousse she likes is unavailable at the supermarket, Amy knows better than to substitute it with a lesser brand!

Peggy has described Amy as being very grown-up, a wise head on young shoulders. She has been overwhelmed with Amy’s thoughtful gestures, a bunch of flowers or surprise treat of fairy cakes and she has returned these kindnesses with gifts of jam and chutney.

Peggy shared the story of a ‘gooseberry bush’ she bought online before lockdown, which turned out to actually be a rose bush that grew three different kinds of roses! Amy and Peggy’s relationship has also grown far beyond what was expected - what a lovely surprise!

Written by Etain Ferdenzi