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M, 74 years old, was becoming increasingly alarmed about what he was hearing on the news and he had no access to food shopping as he was advised to shield by the Government. M’s wife died last year, he now lives alone, and his children have moved out of the UK.

M felt anxious about the new rules and felt he was getting older and if he got the virus, he may never see his children again.

Age UK Camden was able to support M in food provision via emergency food parcels & tele-friending service. He was matched with a volunteer at the start of April. Both M and the volunteer speak Bangladeshi and they were able to connect around old movies, music and culture and they spoke about what it was like for the client moving to London in the sixties.

As the relationship built, M was more able to express his feelings, explaining he felt anxious and all he thought about was if he would see his children again. The volunteer listened compassionately and empathetically and really understood the client’s pain. The volunteer spoke to the Telefriends Coordinator to see what help may be available.

M had never accessed mental health services before and was nervous about it but he felt it would help him to speak about his wife and the anxiety he felt around not seeing his children, and agreed to be referred to Age UK Camden’s Counselling Service. M said that he would not have accessed the counselling service if it was not for the volunteer explaining her experiences of mental health and how she gave him confidence in asking for support.

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