A change of lifestyle for everyone in March 2020 brought along many challenges. I wondered how on Earth many people were able to cope, with the social restrictions on visiting family, and the daunting nature of once-simple tasks like going to buy food.
Of course, I didn't know the half of it; difficulties I could not imagine were now made a hundred times tougher for people all around, and now, completely behind closed doors. A weighty thought.
I heard of a council volunteering opportunity via my work and pursued it to then sign up with the Buddies. With no social support training or qualifications, I still knew offering an ear, running an errand, or sorting out their garden was within my capability.
Since then, I've only helped a few people, and they were certainly grateful for the Buddies taking the edge off their distress or just getting something done without hassle. Though it's always a two-way thing - they kept me company too! And I have learnt a lot of very interesting things about them, their experiences, and life in general in the process.
The Buddies have also offered some great sessions for us volunteers on aspects of social support, including bereavement, and mental health first aid. I am very grateful for these opportunities to learn how to support my clients better!
Now the lockdown is easing, many people will be returning to their busy lives; but with this great network, our neighbours with harder lives will not be forgotten.
Thank you Liz, Kedren, Sara and all the Buddies for making this happen!