When Sue retired as an NHS nurse, she started volunteering in all sorts of ways including visiting the children’s hospital, taking the family dog to visit residents in supported living accommodation, and helping out in her granddaughter’s school. Since the outbreak of Coronavirus, all of Sue’s normal volunteering has had to come to a pause, and she’s really missing it.
Fortunately Sue’s son is our very own Volunteering Manager, James, and he had a solution that meant Sue could continue volunteering from her home. We had a chat with Sue to find out more about what she’s been up to.
As soon as all this started happening I thought, “well what can I do now?” I didn’t want to risk going out to volunteer as I have an existing health condition and my husband is clinically vulnerable too, but I was really missing doing something to help. I’m very much into promoting good mental health, and talking with people is such a big part of that – James suggested telephone befriending and it seemed perfect.
I’ve been chatting with Jessie who lives in one of South Yorkshire Housing Association’s Extra-Care Schemes. Being able to ring people and connect in this way is so vitally important, especially now.
“I’d describe Jessie as a very cosy and sociable person. We talk about the past a lot. She reminisces about her romances, and talks all about her love of Gogglebox and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire too!”
She’s from the neck of the woods where my husband went to school, so we’ve talked about that part of Sheffield. I don’t know it very well but I’ve been able to ask my husband more about it, so I’ve ended up learning things too. We don’t tend to talk about Coronavirus and the situation at the moment but Jessie does say that she can’t go out to the sitting room, and she’s missing socialising with everyone. She loves her cards!
After a while she’ll suddenly say “anyway, I’m doing all the talking here aren’t I, I’m not letting you get a word in!” And I say, “it’s okay, it’s lovely hearing you talk” and then she carries on.
Our conversations usually end with Jessie saying “you will keep phoning me won’t you?…” and I say “of course I will”.
Jessie has got carers going in, and her son calls and visits too, but I do think she likes the phone ringing – just hearing it go off is important isn’t it. She’s a very sociable person and I think the more people who are in touch, the better.
My background as a nurse means it’s inherent in me to want to help people. My advice to anyone who is thinking about volunteering now, or in the future, would be to find something that you enjoy and that you can share with other people. Right now I’m not able to do my normal volunteering, but I can chat on the phone. For other people, dropping off shopping and prescriptions might be the perfect thing right now.