Read how *Melanie's support as a befriender made a difference in *Anita's life
Anita, 79, had lived in the same house most of her life and cared for her parents until they died. A social person, Anita had many friends, but as happens with the passage of time, many of them had passed away, and Anita felt their loss acutely.
Although she had many interests, including gardening, films and history, ongoing health conditions meant Anita was often confined to a chair. The only opportunity she had to go out was to her weekly medical appointments.
Anita was increasingly depressed by her situation as she loved to be out and about. She had lost confidence in walking alone as she was at risk of falling. She felt alone and wanted to make new friends and reconnect with the community.
A friendly face in times of need
It was clear to us that Anita would benefit greatly from our befriending programme. We matched Anita to a volunteer befriender named Melanie, and the two hit it off straight away.
Melanie would visit Anita at least once a week, and together, the two would go on outings, visiting the local garden centre or having a coffee and a chat at a local cafe. If Melanie couldn't visit, she'd call Anita and the two would have a chat over the phone.
Melanie also linked Anita to local activities and groups she thought Anita would enjoy, such as a community cinema and a coffee club. This enabled Anita to connect with a wider community and engage with people of her own age.
A life transformed
With Melanie's help, Anita's confidence blossomed, so much so that she was able to book a holiday for herself - something she's wanted to do for many years, but had always felt unsure about. Now, with Melanie's encouragement and her new-found confidence, Anita was looking forward to her get-away.
When asked about what her friendship with Melanie meant to her, Anita said "You have changed my life."
*names have been changed
*picture is not representative of named individual(s)