Volunteer of the Month: September

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 Melanie who volunteers in the Community Friend Service. Melanie shows incredible support, encouragement and kindness to her friend, Beryl, and they enjoy regular trips out together to the park, shopping and to the farm shop.

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

How long have you been volunteering for the charity? I became a telephone volunteer during the pandemic, and then about 17 months ago I became a Community Friend to Beryl.

Tell us a bit about yourself: I am a mother of two grown up children in their 20’s and I currently work part time in a number of NHS  non executive director roles having left my full time role in further education in 2019. I love being active, walking and playing tennis when ever I can as well as some time working as an “extra” in the background on film  and tv. 

Tell us about your volunteering role: Initially, I would visit Beryl for an hour on alternate weeks at her request and we would have a chat and coffee as she cared for her ill husband. We spent time getting to know each other and listening, laughing and crying on occasions. As our relationship developed and she began to trust me, I was the first person to take her out of the house for some time and I gradually saw her gain more confidence. Now, we often either have a chat in the house or on good weather days we go shopping,  to the park, or farm shop and combine a small walk with shopping and coffee. We have had two summer trips to Shibden Park and we are planning other outings. I often visit for two hours or more and we always have lots to say to each other. 

It is a privileged position getting to know, and spending time with someone at a vulnerable time in their lives. It takes time to earn the trust and develop a mutually beneficial and rewarding relationship with somebody new, entering their home and life.

What made you want to start volunteering with YCC? I absolutely love meeting people, listening and helping others. I felt the pandemic was very isolating and saw the impact on friends and family who were alone. I saw how my mother who had died from dementia benefited from visiting volunteers and I wanted to help as I saw some adverts for volunteers and knew there was a large list of people who were isolated or lonely.

If you feel inspired to become a volunteer like Melanie, 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]