Ever wondered what it’s like to become a Good Neighbour? Over the next few months we’ll be posting a series of blogs by our volunteers and older people which give an insight into the befriending process and our charity.
Volunteer Blog #1
I first joined Levenshulme Good Neighbours two years ago. I was quite new to the area, self employed, and was looking for a way to volunteer in the local community.
I was paired with Ivy, a local lady who suffers from MS and relies on mobility aids to get around. She and I got on brilliantly from day one, despite the fact that we have quite different personalities! Ivy is a vivacious character, and she has a great sense of humour too. She’s lived all over Manchester, and has an impressive collection of anecdotes (like the time she met Elvis…) which means there’s never a dull conversation.
We get together fortnightly for a cup of tea and a chat – sometimes at her flat, and sometimes for lunch at one of the cafes in Levenshulme. We saw Fantastic Beasts together a few weeks ago too, which was lovely as she’s not usually able to get to the cinema. Even though mobility is becoming an increasing challenge for her, we try our best to get out and about as much as we can. We always enjoy the trips out arranged by LGN, and the Blue Planet this year was a definite highlight.
We talk about anything really – sometimes about the past, sometimes it’s just what we’ve done in the week. Sometimes it’s hearing about a new hobby Ivy has taken up (painting, stained glass crafts, the ukulele). It’s a time I really look forward to, and I get just as much out of it as she does. It’s a chance to talk to someone with a different perspective on life, and someone who’s had so many interesting experiences. We always have a good laugh too.
Volunteering so often seems to be associated with “giving up time,” or making a sacrifice to help someone else. But befriending is such a mutual experience, everyone benefits. I’ve really enjoyed my time with Good Neighbours, and it’s nice to know you’re making a difference (however small!) to someone’s life. I’d encourage anyone thinking about befriending to give it a try.