#HCAVolunteers – Karuna Befriending Volunteer
Our Befriending Scheme matches a local volunteer with an isolated older person to spend time together on a weekly basis.
Back in the Autumn, we spoke with returning Befriender volunteer Karuna, who had just finished some wheelchair training at Millman Street.
“My first Befriending experience at HCA was from March 2018 to April 2019. I go to UCL and my befriender was just a 2-minute walk from me. I’m volunteering for my psychology degree, as its really useful to do this outside of clinical experience.
I am also volunteering as I want to help and think it’s good to step out of the student bubble of being on campus.
At first, I was a bit unsure as I hadn’t done anything like this before and I didn’t know how to open up, but within the first few weeks it was completely fine. Shared experiences built a friendship and we would have inside jokes we would refer back too.
It made me really happy for just an hour each week I could make such a difference to another person’s wellbeing. Towards the end of my befriendee’s life, she was struggling with her health and would often say I was like a granddaughter to her.
When the weather was nice we would go to the park next to the Brunswick Centre to sit and chat. At first, she was quite shy then she got quite relaxed with it. We talked about our families, what she did that week, she liked to go to the community centre every day.
We also covered broader topics like religion and my degree. She was originally from Pakistan and had been here for over 30 years. She had a strong spiritual belief and we would talk about that too.
I’ve met my new befriender, he’s 97 and I’m 21. He told me he is not sure what we have common. He is willing to give it a try. We spoke for the whole hour!”
With thanks to funding from the London freemasons for the scheme.