Susan has been doing short term befriending, visiting clients three or four times to get them back on their feet after hospital.
‘Many of the people I see are housebound, frail and lonely. I will do shopping for them, collect prescriptions, hoover, make a sandwich or go for a walk with them. But 95 per cent of the time, they just want to sit and chat.
Most people are happy to talk about their lives and, as a result, I have just met so many fascinating people.
I met a husband and wife who had worked together on breakthrough Aids research, and it was inspiring to hear their story. In fact, I have learnt so much from meeting with my clients over the year, it’s shown me what a difference a positive attitude can have to getting older, something I hope to remember myself.
Another client used to be a journalist for the Financial Times. She was incredibly good company and we’d meet up to go to art exhibitions.
And Agnes, who is 98, is as sharp as a tack is a fabulous, fascinating woman. I truly enjoy her company and now I see her regularly as a friend and we go for walks together. She loves hearing about my day as it opens out the world to her.
I often refer people on to other Age UK Barnet services – longer term befriending, in particular, music or lunch clubs, for instance, to keep them connected.
I love volunteering for Age UK Barnet because it’s a valuable contribution to the wider community and it’s been a privilege to meet so many wonderful people who have led such interesting lives.