Volunteer of the month: October

Volunteer of the month is when we get to shout about our amazing volunteers and the, quite literally, life changing work they do to help Fresh Futures run smoothly and effectively.

This month we would like to say a big THANK YOU to 89-year-old Elaine who has been a Community Friend to 94-year-old Rita over the last year. Elaine shows incredibly heart-warming compassion and kindness to Rita, and they have formed a wonderful friendship through their weekly catch-ups.

We caught up with Elaine to hear about her Fresh Futures Volunteering journey so far…

How long have you been volunteering for the charity? I have been volunteering for Fresh Futures for 1 year.

Tell us a bit about yourself: I am 89 years old, turning 90 in March, with 4 children, 12 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren. I love chatting to people, I’ve always worked amongst people and just really enjoy company.

Tell us about your volunteering role: Every week when I visit Rita who is 94 years old, she is waiting for me at the window and waving at me. I really look forward to seeing her, we have so much to talk about, and honestly we have become great friends. Rita can’t always get her words out, so I just hold her hand and let her know that it’s okay to take her time. Usually she manages to get her words out after a little while, and I’ve noticed that her speech has improved a lot over the last year. Sometimes when she is struggling, she tells me to talk while she listens. I tell her all about my family and what’s been going on. She always remembers the details, and the following week she won’t forget to follow up! Before leaving we always have a hug when we say bye.

What made you want to start volunteering with YCC? I’ve always had a busy life, but now that my children have their own families and I’m alone, it really helps me to go and see someone. I don’t really enjoy my own company, so getting out and talking to other people who might be experiencing loneliness has been really important for me too.

And finally, what advice would you give to people considering volunteering with YCC? It’s really helped me a lot. If you are helping someone else, it also helps you. I would say, if you can visit someone who might be feeling lonely, bring them a story, a bit of news, something like that – it will really brighten their day.

If you feel inspired to become a volunteer like Elaine, or if you would like to volunteer in any way for our charity, please contact Fresh Futures Volunteer Officer, Daisy, on: 01484 519988 or email: [email protected]