We are wrapping up our #HCAVolunteers Month with another interview from our Befriending Scheme. The programme matches a local volunteer with an isolated older person to spend time together on a weekly basis. HCA caught up with befriender Lizzie with local resident Eileen in her home.
I’ve been visiting Eileen coming up to two and a half years. I got involved when HCA approached my church, St George the Martyr in Queen Square, and said they were looking for volunteers, it seemed like a great opportunity.
It was a bit like a blind date when I first met Eileen! At first, you are not sure how it was going to be and what we were going to talk about. Kate, the befriending co-ordinator introduced us for our first meeting.
Now I feel that Eileen is part of the family, we sit down and have a natter and have a glass of something and share a meal.
Sometimes I will pick up the kids to come along to visit or sometimes I come by myself. It’s really convenient for me as I live locally and come after work on a Friday, it fits in really well.
I’m on the local parent circuit and I don’t see our paths crossing socially if it was not for the befriending scheme. Although the scheme introduced us, it’s not the scheme that we are here for – our friendship developed naturally.
I have lived 42 years in Kings Cross and have lived all my life in this area. My family all live far away and I don’t drive so the only way I can see them is by public transport.
I don’t get out a great deal, I am a little bit stuck at home and have a tendency to be in pain quite a lot of the time. Coming down the stairs is not so bad but coming back up is really difficult and when the weather is bad it makes it harder to get out.
You would have thought it could have been awkward when we first met, I didn’t know what I was going to get, but we seemed to get on well from the beginning and I’ve known Lizzie for over two years now.
When Lizzie visits we mostly have a chat and a cup tea. When the weather is nice, especially in the summer, we head out and sometimes go to the pub – it was good fun last year, we would bump into people we had met the week before!
When I first described the befriending scheme to people that I know, they didn’t quite get it. But I think the chance of us meeting in different circumstances are so small without this.