A Sheffield man left alone after his wife moved into a care home has praised the impact of a charity scheme that aims to reduce loneliness in the city.
Fred Hall, aged 82, says regular chats with a Sheffield Churches Council for Community Care (SCCCC) volunteer are one of the highlights of his week.
Fred was paired with Beryl – a volunteer with the charity’s Good Neighbour Scheme, which aims to help older people who have little other means of company or support.
Fred told Charity Today:
“I’ve been part of SCCCC’s Good Neighbour Scheme ever since my wife moved into a care home when it became too difficult for me to look after her. For me, joining the scheme was just about being able to speak to interesting people.
“I still visit my wife in the care home once a week, but for much of the pandemic, I was only allowed to see her through the window. At least now I can hold her hand.
“I try to go on walks often and usually I’ll talk to my friends and neighbours on the street about motorcycles and bikes. A close family friend drops shopping off for me every Sunday which I look forward to as she brings her dog with her. I also have carers who visit me four times a day and I enjoy making them a cup of tea. But apart from that, I’m completely alone.
“That’s why I’m so grateful for Beryl- my SCCCC volunteer- who rings me every fortnight on a Friday. We’ve built up a brilliant relationship and I like the way she takes a real and genuine interest in my life.
“We talk about how I am, what we’ve both been up to, how my wife is doing and lots of different topics besides.
“Just having someone different to talk to has helped my life tremendously and I’m really grateful to SCCCC for the support they are giving me- whenever I’m talking to people I do mention the scheme and how much it is helping me.”
SCCCC is currently recruiting new volunteers to be paired up with older people for telephone support, with anyone in South Yorkshire eligible to help out.
The charity hopes that telephone calls may become friendly visits in the future, once the Covid-19 restrictions are lifted further. A full induction and DBS checks will be carried out to ensure all volunteers are suitable to support older people.
To find out more or to volunteer, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0114 2505292.