Maria who is in her 80s is unable to get out regularly due to her ill health and medical conditions. Before joining the Befriending Scheme Maria regularly felt lonely and was becoming depressed.

Maria came to the UK in the 1970s from Spain and was keen to be matched with a Spanish speaking volunteer. We matched her with Lydia, a PHD student who, although not from Spain, speaks Spanish pretty well.

Lydia says:

“Maria has a wonderful sense of humour and we belly laugh almost every week.  She tells me stories of what it was like to live under Franco’s dictatorship in Spain and funny stories from her idyllic childhood”

“We both love cooking and often talk about food.  Once I arrived to find Maria had bought all the ingredients for a Spanish omelette (tortilla Espanola) and we spent the hour cooking together”


“Maria has become more than just a befriendee to me, she has become my friend”

Maria says of her relationship with Lydia

“She is like my granddaughter”

“When I know Lydia is coming it cheers me up”