Volunteers' Week Blog: 'One of the most rewarding roles I've ever had'
Published on 02 June 2021 09:03 AM
To mark Volunteers’ Week, Age Scotland volunteer Lorna Buchanan shares her experience as a Friendship Caller:
"I have been a volunteer friendship caller for a couple of months now and I can honestly say it is one of the most rewarding roles I have ever had. I make two or three calls on a Wednesday afternoon that tend to last between 20 and 40 minutes each.
"As with all good conversations, both parties benefit from the calls. It is a lovely feeling to finish a call feeling knowing that not only have you brightened the day for someone else day but have enriched your own also.
"Without exception, each caller I have spoken with is hugely grateful for the Friendship Service. They say it provides just that little extra bit of routine in the week and, as one lady explained, it is nice to talk to someone that is not a family member or close friend.
"She felt more able and comfortable talking about her feelings about life after her bereavement. Yes, there can be the odd moment of sadness in a call that is difficult to hear but these moments pass very quickly as the act of talking about what is causing the sadness or frustration helps release the stress.
"What is probably not covered so much in any training for a role like this is what the volunteer also gains from the experience.
"Firstly, I have laughed lots. Secondly, I have learned. I have learned some fabulous new recipes from a gentleman who has been a lifelong professional cook. I have had great new book recommendations now downloaded to my Kindle,
"I have discovered many new places in the world that I'd like to visit when I can resume travelling whilst chatting about past travels. I now watch a programme on TV about rail travel I would never have considered until it was suggested by a caller of the service.
"Thirdly, there have been shared experiences. We have shared frustrations of councils and service providers and hopefully callers feel that they are not alone in their experiences trying to deal with everyday life frustrations. We have shared experiences dealing with loss during this difficult time.
"I would not hesitate to recommend using the Friendship Service to either potential callers or potential volunteers."
With the help of volunteers like Lorna, we're able to be there for every older person who needs our help. If you would like to join our team as a volunteer, please find details of current opportunities here: https://www.ageuk.org.uk/scotland/get-involved/volunteer/