Meet volunteer Pam and client Barrie and read their story.
'It's wonderfully rewarding to make such a positive difference' (Pam)
'We never stop talking' (Barrie)
Pam started volunteering for Age Connects Cardiff and the Vale in January 2019. She’d previously cared for her mother who lived with Alzheimer’s for over 10 years, during which time Pam had experienced and valued the support of Age Connects when they provided financial advice regarding caring allowances and other benefits. In addition, Pam’s mum was matched with a befriender who would visit weekly for a coffee and a chat.
Pam says: ‘’My mum loved those visits and having seen the difference they made to her, I wanted to do that for someone else after mum passed away and I had more time.”
Pam was matched with Barry resident Barrie. A widower, Barrie does have a very supportive family. However, as they all lead busy lives, and with families of their own, he was lonely and interested in accessing the Age Connects befriending scheme for someone to chat to.
Pam continues: “Barrie is a very young 88-year-old. At the outset of Covid-19 and the first lockdown, I don’t think we realised just how long it would continue. Being such a sociable person and not being able to get out very much, it was difficult for Barrie. However, with a family member delivering his shopping and our weekly (or twice weekly) telephone chats to make sure that he was ok, we got through it. And as restrictions eased and when the weather allowed, we have been able to go for coffee or a walk in the park.”
Why Pam recommends Age Connects!
Pam would thoroughly recommend Age Connects – both for those who may need to access its services and those interested in becoming a volunteer.
“As a volunteer, an hour a week is so easy to give up and you get so much back. I really didn’t expect to make such a good friend as I have, and that’s been such a bonus! Barrie and I get on so well and the hour goes so quickly that my visits rarely finish on time! It’s wonderfully rewarding to know that you’re making such a positive difference to someone’s life.”
Barrie grew up in Barry with his two sisters. Completing his National Service, Barrie had a long career in administrative roles within industry, airlines, finance and banking. On retiring, he decided to become a volunteer, supporting the local Meals on Wheels service, an Arts Foundation and working with pupils with learning difficulties in Barry Comprehensive.
Barrie’s wife sadly passed away 17 years ago but he remains close to his two daughters and son and now has seven grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. “My family is marvellous and very supportive but I was feeling lonely.
“Since being matched with Pam, that has changed. She is now part of the family and I would be heartbroken if she left. When we go out and about or just sit and chat, we get on so well, we never stop talking!
“For others in a similar position to me, I would definitely recommend Age Connects. Pam’s friendship, company and support have made such a difference.”
Looking to find out more about volunteering?
For information on how to access our services supporting older members of our local communities or join our team of incredible volunteers visit ageconnectscardiff.org.uk