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Sharing Time: The difference it makes, highlighted by a local reporter.

Published on 20 February 2024 11:01 AM

Taking an interest in our popular Sharing Time Service, local Freelance Copywriter Ellie Senior has shared stories of the amazing friendships the service facilitates in a recent article published in FenScene Magazine. Below are excerpts from Ellie's report:

Christine and Paula's Story

When Christine’s husband moved into a care home in 2019, she felt isolated and alone. At 81, Christine is partially sighted and has health conditions that make mobility difficult. It’s not easy for her to go out and socialise. But four years on, Christine enjoys a flourishing friendship with Paula, an Age UK Cambridgeshire and Peterborough (CAP) ‘Sharing Time’ volunteer who visits her weekly at home. “Before Paula, I had no friends,” Christine explains. “We sit and chat about old times. About the war, when my Dad took in German prisoners of war. It gives me something to look forward to. She is here for me in the ’down times’ too.”

Christine had been too busy caring for her husband, and her mother before him, to build friendships in her community. The Age UK CAP Sharing Time service was able to match her with a volunteer to bring the valuable companionship she otherwise missed.

“I have so much in common with Paula; our dogs, gardening, cooking disasters,” Christine smiles. “Paula listens well and is so patient with me. I would encourage anyone who is feeling lonely to give it a try.”

Martin and Norman's Story

Martin began volunteering with Age UK CAP when recently retired in 2016. “I was looking for a sense of purpose when I saw a poster advertising Sharing Time,”he says. “I ‘clicked’ really well with Norman. We joked about our health ailments and shared a background in engineering. Norman’s health has since declined and he is now in a care home, but as we are such good friends I still go and visit him each week.”

93-year-old Norman had struggled when he returned to his home in Witchford after a stay in hospital. “Sharing Time is a lifesaver for people on their own,” says Norman’s daughter-in-law Tracy. “His volunteer Martin has been outstandingly kind. Norman really appreciates the time he has been given.”

Pat's Story

Pat, who is 86 herself, visits two ladies each week as a Sharing Time volunteer. “I am older myself and like being with people,” she says. “I didn’t realise how much it was going to benefit both sides. If you find a good match it is something you really look forward to.” “We are more like old friends,” adds Yvonne, one of Pat’s partners. “We are from the same era and have lots in common. Friends were in short supply after my husband died. Pat has helped such a lot.”


Age UK Cambridgeshire and Peterborough is an independent partner of national charity Age UK. We promote positive experience in later life by providing information and practical and social support to older people from all backgrounds to enable them to live well, safely and independently in their own home. Organiser Clare is always looking for volunteers who have a desire to make a difference to people’s lives. “You can volunteer during the daytime, in the evening or at weekends,” she says. “We will always try to match you with someone you have things in common with, so you feel comfortable spending time together.” 

Could you be eligible for our Sharing Time Service?

Anyone who is over 65, lives alone and is socially isolated may be eligible for the Age UK CAP Sharing Time service.