#HCAVolunteers – Befriender Ziyi

Befriender Volunteer Ziyi Holborn Community Association

#HCAVolunteers – Befriender Ziyi

Ziyi pronounced ‘Zi’ is studying her masters at UCL in Economics and Business.  Originally from Hangzhou in China, London has been her home since last July. Our Befriending scheme brings older people together with volunteers on a weekly basis.  Here Ziyi tells us what attracted her to the befriending scheme and why sharing stories has helped her friendship grow with older person Jean.  

“I found out about the HCA befriending scheme from the UCL volunteer website.  I used to do various volunteering at University back in China and really enjoyed it.  I like the idea of giving company to the ones that need you and especially the elderly.  

Jean is in her 90’s and is housebound with a carer each day.  I try to visit once a week for an hour for the past six months.   When I am there we talk and I share my life with her, every time I am with her I will take some photos of my life and talk about them.  

It is nice to build up a friendship over time with Jean and I enjoy spending time with her.  Mostly I speak more to Jean and she listens, and I am encouraging her to share more of her life.  Over time I have noticed she is sharing more stories with me and she is always happier afterwards.

Some of my friends think it is good what I am doing for the befriending scheme but believe you should just volunteer in the field you are doing your degree in.  Personally, I really like the idea of helping others and bringing something new – I find it really rewarding.

I’ve enjoyed studying and volunteering here in London, people I found are braver to be themselves.  I used to care more about other opinions back home, but I think I feel more comfortable to be myself. I plan to continue volunteering with HCA until September until I leave to continue my studies in Prague.” 

Lonely and isolated older people in Holborn, Covent Garden and Bloomsbury will be helped back into community life, thanks to a grant of £77,827 from London freemasons.

Interested in finding out more about our befriending scheme? Click here or contact kate.blackshaw@holborncommunity.co.uk.  Our scheme is kindly supported by London freemasons.

Click here to discover more volunteering opportunities at HCA.

Following the advice set out by government on 16th March we have sadly taken the decision to close the majority of our activities for the moment.   Our care provision for members at Millman Street will continue for now.  Our Befriending Scheme will start linking people by phone
The following activities will cease as of today
Activities for drop in members at Millman Street
Gymnastics, Taekwondo and Ballet sessions
Pottery sessions
Daily Under 5’s sessions
Media Arts Club
Sport Meets Art
Creative Communications Sessions
Carers Art Group
Over 60’s pottery and creative writing
Activities for drop in members at Millman Street
Digital Storytelling
Make and Mend group
Like many of you we are thinking hard about how to support the community over the next few months.  We will be in touch with details of what our offer looks like, how you can help and how you can get help.  In the meantime you can also join local ward based whats app and facebook groups organising support – follow this link to see how you can help