Do you have spare time and would like to make a difference in your community?
Volunteering for a local charity is a great way to meet new people and feel useful. Meet Anne, who volunteers for Age UK Northamptonshire as a Telephone Befriender.
How long have you been volunteering for Age UK Northamptonshire?
I started fairly recently, so about six months.
Why did you choose Age UK Northamptonshire?
I think I chose a charity that works for older people because I’d lost all older relations in my family and you miss their contribution in your life.
What are the best things about volunteering?
It’s fun! The people you work with make it enjoyable – it’s a very friendly organisation and, of course, I get to speak to a lot of older people. You feel like you’re making a difference. It’s interesting to talk to people and hear about their life experiences, and how that affects their different perspectives and opinions. I admire older people’s resilience and I’ve come to understand later life a lot better since volunteering. In particular I appreciate that the older generation have still got a valuable contribution to make.
What benefits do you bring to older people?
By listening in a non-judgemental way I enable them to talk about a range of topics and often they find it’s a relief to talk to another person apart from their family, even if it just to allows someone to get something off their chest. The main thing I can ensure is that they’re never left to feel lonely, because they can expect my weekly telephone call.
Describe your role.
I phone the same three clients once a week, either from home or the office at Billing Road. Each call can last anything from ten to 50 minutes.
What skills do you need?
To be a good Telephone Befriender you need to be a good listener. It also helps to be a friendly, cheerful and upbeat type of person.
If you feel inspired to join Anne and our other volunteers, please have a look at our range of volunteering opportunities or call us on 01604 611200 for more details.
Come and join us - we're a friendly bunch and we like making the world a kinder place for older people!