'You get out as much as you put in'

Sue Horne could almost be regarded as a professional volunteer - except that she never submits an invoice! For over 35 years Sue has been devoting her time to a wide variety of volunteering roles. These have included supporting witnesses attending St. Albans Crown Court, lending support to the 'Home-Start' organisation (which gives assistance to families with young children), working on Disability Appeal Tribunals, carrying out survey work on behalf of voluntary sector, working for the Citizens Advice Bureau, and even learning sign language so that she could act as a communicator.

Covid-19 brought much of Sue’s volunteering to a standstill. Although she tried to maintain some of the contact support through 'Zoom' connections, physical contact was impossible. Locked down like the rest of the population, Sue joined a 'Virtual Coffee Morning' and here she was encouraged to try becoming a 'Telephone Befriender'. Wary of physical encounters even as pandemic restrictions were eased, Sue found this role a very satisfying alternative and was soon chatting with her first gentleman client on a regular basis.

Since then, Sue has made the acquaintance of another elderly client (Sieglinde), with whom she chats on a weekly basis. Describing Sieglinde as 'an amazing lady', Sue finds the calls interesting and enjoyable. A surprising range of topics are discussed, as Sieglinde has knowledge on many different subjects.

Still being unable to do some of the things she loves, such as travelling and attending classical music concerts, Sue at least manages to maintain her painting. She also tries to keep up her previous support contacts, with whom she hopes to reconnect in person. Sue views her volunteering as "a two way stretch" and is quite confident that "you get out as much as you put in". It seems like Sue is looking forward to many more years of volunteering.


Written by Don Ramsey