#HCAVolunteers 2020 – Celia

It’s #VolunteersWeek and we wanted to shine a spotlight on some of our wonderful HCA volunteers! Our Befriending Scheme matches a local volunteer with an isolated older person to spend time together on a weekly basis.  During Covid-19 the scheme has been adapted to regular phone calls, working in partnership with Doorstep Help.  We had a chat with Befriender Celia who has just completed her degree in Psychology from UCL and has continued to support her Befriendee during lockdown:

“I’ve replaced weekly visits with phone calls twice a week, it’s obviously not the same but at the same time, it could definitely be worse.  My befriendee has told me he is not finding it as hard as it could be, this surprised me as he has an underlying health condition – I thought it could have been more anxiety-inducing.  He is aware of what is going on, but he has found the balance between being informed and keeping sane.  He told me he feels pretty detached from it as he was already quite isolated prior to this.  

His daily life has been really unaffected, he’s still staying on top of his Drs appointments and on top of his medication, he has a great support system around him, but its also his own achievement of resilience he feels this way.  

I’ve changed my weekly visits to phone calls, I’m not the best on the phone because I am not used to it! But after a couple of weeks, I’ve become better.  I think I’m used to seeing someone in person where you get that facial feedback.  

Something COVID-19 has shown me is how special the relationship is with the befriendee.  I already knew that I am important to him but the fact that he looks forward to our calls, it’s important to me to continue to be there.  I get a lot of relief from talking from him and its comforting to know he is doing ok. I hope that I can visit him soon.  

I am a student and handed in my last submission today at UCL in Psychology and I am going to continue to do my masters.  The great thing about volunteering and me being a student is right now I have the time and the financial flexibility to be involved.  Lockdown happened the week before the term had finished I have been doing all my studies remotely.  Home for me is a small Island off Spain it didn’t make sense for me to go home.  

 If you have the time and you like to connect with different types of people Befriending is a great experience.”

Our volunteer recruitment is a rolling process, to register your interest please email kate.blackshaw@holborncommunity.co.uk. Our Befriending Scheme is set to continue with thanks to funding from the London freemasons.


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