It’s easy to give volunteering a go

6 March 2018

You can never be too old to make new friends. 

Our Enliven Visiting Volunteers understand this, and the programme is focused on setting up volunteer pairs.

We know that some things make for healthier, happier living, no matter what your age. This includes having comfortable companionships.

Visiting Volunteers are people who simply enjoy the company of others. They spend time with an older person, providing the friendly companionship that may be needed.

Wendy Coward is one such volunteer. She lives in Mosgiel, and has been a Visiting Volunteer for over a decade.

Wendy became a Visiting Volunteer after she retired, and was looking for something to do.

“I’ve really enjoyed it. I’d say that it’s beneficial to both people involved.”

Wendy confesses that she views herself as shy and not the best at initiating conversation. Being a Visiting Volunteer has helped to build her confidence when interacting with other people.

“I’ve gained confidence and I know that sometimes we all need someone to talk to and do things with.”  

The current person who Wendy visits is in her 90s, but is still as lively as ever.

Wendy began visiting when she was living in her own home, and now visits her each week in the care home she has moved to.

“We sit together and have a good yarn every Monday. She’s a real hard case, if you say anything she’ll just come back at you, quick as can be.”

“We’ll try to do the quiz in the newspaper and we’ll read our stars together, or we have a cup of tea and just have a general chat and a laugh.”

Wendy recalls a few years ago, when they attended an exercise class held in Mosgiel. Her companion was not able to do everything in the class, but “she gave it all a go and really enjoyed herself.”

When asked about her advice for anyone thinking about becoming a Visiting Volunteer Wendy is quick to suggest, “Give it a go and see if it helps you. There are a lot of people, not just the elderly, who may be lonely and need someone to be there with them. It is a very good service.”

Visiting Volunteers are needed in Dunedin and Mosgiel. Contact Michelle on 03 477 7115 to find out more about becoming a Visiting Volunteer.

Article by Imogen Duncan