Volunteers' Week Blog: 'A good blether goes a long way!'
Published on 04 June 2021 08:03 AM
Having volunteered with us for five years, Alice is currently a Friendship Caller on our Friendship Line and, prior to the pandemic, donated her time as a Helpline Administrator. To mark Volunteers’ Week, she shares her experience of volunteering with Age Scotland.
"For most of my working life I have worked mainly in the public or voluntary sector and, when I retired, I was looking to do some kind of volunteering. I have been volunteering with Age Scotland for five years now and enjoy it immensely. Those I work with at Age Scotland are very encouraging and if any issues arise, I know these can be discussed and talked through.
"During the pandemic, I have volunteered my time as a Friendship Caller to the Friendship Service which makes me feel that I am contributing in some small way, although I was a bit nervous when I made my first call!
"Hopefully, those I chat to also get something from it and feel more socially connected and, therefore, less isolated by having someone to talk to about all sorts of things - a good blether goes a long way! I believe that this is as valuable to me as it is to the person on the other end of the phone.
"A simple friendly chat can make all the difference to someone who feels anxious, lonely and has lost their confidence. Some people have not talked to anyone in days and are a bit low that they are losing the remaining years of their lives to the pandemic when they should be making the most of it.
"Because of their inability to get out and about, some callers I chat to felt they were becoming less mobile and any health issues were being further exacerbated. They also talk about their present situation, their working occupations, their family and friends, where they used to go on holiday, their hobbies – some enjoy cooking reading, doing puzzles, arts and crafts, gardening etc. Some callers have really interesting lives and have lots of really amazing and funny stories to tell!
"I believe that volunteering gives back so much more than it takes. In fact, the best thing about volunteering is the good feeling when callers let you know how much they enjoyed the call. They feel less anxious with having someone to talk too which is likely to boost your own self-esteem and sense of purpose - it takes my mind of my own problems for a wee while.
"On one occasion I was chatting to someone who was self-isolating and we were discussing the internet and ways to keep connected when she mentioned that she did not have a computer as it broke a few weeks ago and she was, therefore, unable to see her grandchildren. Her predicament appeared in a local newspaper and as a result she was donated a tablet!
"A simple friendly call can make all the difference to someone’s day."
To find out more about volunteering with Age Scotland and the kind of opportunities we have available, visit this page: https://www.ageuk.org.uk/scotland/get-involved/volunteer/