Terrific Telephone Befrienders
At the beginning of lockdown in March 2020, Alison found herself unexpectedly living on her own. The Nursery where she worked had closed and her Mum was self-isolating elsewhere. She felt a little lonely and wanted to find something to do to keep busy, as well as helping others in a similar situation. Volunteering was the answer. So began (in Alison’s words) the “warm fuzzies” experience with Communities 1st.
Communities 1st matched Alison with a client that she would telephone every week. The client was facing physical and mental challenges and felt isolated and alone, but with gentle chats Alison felt she was able to bring a bit of calm into their life. The conversations they had were emotional but mutually supportive. The two developed a bond which enabled them to chat and laugh even when the client was in hospital, and all she wanted was a bag of Hula Hoops to cheer her up!
For Alison, being a communities 1st volunteer has been a valuable and rewarding experience. Speaking to people who were lonely and isolated, has allowed her to help those feeling the same way she did in March 2020.
Rob signed up with Communities 1st as a Telephone Befriender. He was allocated a telephone befriender client, with whom he developed a positive relationship, as they discovered they had a number of mutual interests.
Every Monday at precisely 10.00am, they would call each other and spend the time discussing art, culture and world history. This structure and regularity suited them both. They also discovered they had both recently experienced personal bereavements, and the feelings they shared during their weekly chats were very comforting.
Rob feels he is suited to being a telephone befriender, and finds using the skills he developed during his career (particularly his experience in listening and mentoring) very satisfying. Rob is grateful for the opportunity to volunteer and hopes to continue with voluntary roles as part of his retired life.
If you'd like to volunteer as a telephone befriender, sign up here.
Written by Lesley Williams