A vital befriending service, which offers a lifeline to older people across East Lindsey, is being highlighted as part of a national week to promote such volunteering.
District pensioner Pauline says having a befriender has transformed her life and she has praised the service provided by Age UK Lindsey during National Befrienders Week, which runs until Friday (November 7).
For people like widow Pauline, 71, the befriending volunteer she has, has made a huge difference in a life that changed beyond recognition when her husband passed away in April this year.
On hearing about the befriending service, Pauline initially thought: “How can two complete strangers be put together and get along?”
“But it really does work,” she exclaimed. “After a meeting with two ladies, I was matched with Fiona and she is absolutely wonderful. I can't describe how grateful I am to have met her.
“I have arthritis and had a spinal fusion 50 years ago so many day-to-day tasks are difficult. When Fiona visits, usually once a week, we chat about everything under the
sun, but she also helps with simple things, such as opening a bottle of milk.
Sometimes she can be here two to three hours!”
With Pauline's own family living in the south of England, her befriending volunteer brings company and a big smile to an otherwise lonely week, especially as many of the helpful friends and companions she once had nearby have now gone or passed away.
“I keep saying, they should put her on prescription!” Pauline enthused.
Fiona Spiers found out about the service when her mother had an Age UK Lindsey befriender visit her in her home. Even when she was transferred to a home, the
befriender continued to support Fiona’s mother in any way she could.
She said: “It was about the same time that I spoke to my son, who is a paramedic.He told me about just how many older people the service is called out to. When they reach the caller, they are sometimes not too ill physically but are so lonely and that compounds any illness they have.
“I get so much satisfaction from this.”
Sadly, Pauline's story is not uncommon in East Lindsey and across the UK. If you think you can spare a couple of hours a week to make and help a new friend, contact
01507 524242 or visit the website at https://www.ageuk.org.uk/lindsey
If you are older and in need of some company, do get in touch. Age UK Lindsey is there to help.