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Jeanette, 75 lives in Belfast and has two sons. Sadly Nigel, her youngest son, died eight years ago, her other son John* lives in Holland.
“When I lost my son, I didn’t know what to do. If it hadn’t have been for Volunteer Now, I wouldn’t be around”
How did you find out about Volunteer Now Befriending Scheme?
I was referred to Volunteer Now by my social worker, in August 2021. Those days in the pandemic were very long lonely days.
What is it you love most about having a befriender?
I enjoy the chit chat. The most important thing of all is the company, I live entirely on my own, and my other son lives in Holland.
My two nieces are very good to me, they live local to me. Michelle has invited me to Christmas, the two girls are very close to me.
How much do you value your relationship with Volunteer Now?
I am very fond of Victoria, who coordinates the befriending scheme. I get along with her so much, she has helped change my life for the better.
Having a befriender is the best thing that has ever happened to me. It saved me from hell, that’s the truth.
I have a phone call each week and sometimes we have gone over to SD Bells and have cup of Tea and Scone.
I would love to become a befriender for other people as I know how fantastic it is. I am willing to help in anyway I can. I would want to do that more than anything in the world.
I also use the Volunteer Now Driving Scheme. My driver today was Jim, I know him well and he’s a gentleman. He takes me to my appointments. For example, today I was at the Dentist, and he popped into the shops for me to get me the paper as I love to do the crosswords.
The biggest challenges facing older people today is loneliness. It’s the hardest aspect about getting older. You need all the friends you can get, every single one of them. Wait till I tell you, you will never ever get people like befrienders, drivers, they are just perfect.