• Date: 31/05/2022

Volunteer Carol supports lonely people going weeks without seeing others in Stoke-on-Trent

Older woman standing outside her home with flowers in the background

Volunteer Carol supports lonely and isolated people across Stoke-on-Trent in their homes. She donates her time by chatting to vulnerable people who otherwise wouldn’t have any human contact.

Over the years she’s helped by completing wellbeing calls and visits to people’s homes as well as visiting isolated or lonely people in hospital.

Carol’s volunteer work is part of home support specialist Revival’s Befriending Service. The service aims to bring life back into people’s homes by helping them feel connected and part of the community.

The service has a dedicated team of staff and volunteers, called befrienders, who help make it happen. The volunteer coordinator connects selfless people like Carol to customers who need support, helping them feel less alone.

Volunteer Carol explains: “I’ve been volunteering for Revival for over five years now. I first befriended a gentleman named Ken and would go to see him once a week.

“He was housebound and other than seeing the people who used to bring his shopping in, he wouldn’t have any other contact.

“I’d go to his house, make a cup of tea and sometimes cake. We’d just have a good old natter. He was such a character with a brilliant sense of humour. He was a teenager in the war so would tell me so many interesting stories.

“If ever I went on holiday or I was off sick he’d say he missed seeing me and it was so nice to know I was making a difference to his life.

“Sadly Ken became unwell and I had to stop visiting when he needed full time care.”

After Carol volunteered at the Haywood Hospital visiting patients and chatting to anyone feeling lonely. The pandemic put that on hold when they stopped any non-essential people, like Carol, visiting.

“I love volunteering for Revival and I want to do it for as long as I can. Helping people is something I’ve done for most of my life.

“I used to work in a support centre before moving to Stoke, working as a mentor. I’ll never forget the first person I spoke to and what she said to me after the session. It will always stick with me and will drive me to keep helping people.

“I remember the first person saying ‘I can’t talk to my friends or family but because I don’t know you, I feel like I can unburden myself and you won’t judge me’.

"It’s so true and sometimes all people need is a non-judgemental ear.

Although Carol helps people’s wellbeing by volunteering she also gets something out of it too.

“Some of my customers say I’m the only conversation they have all week so it’s nice to know I’ve helped someone feel less alone. It’s simple but a five or ten minute conversation makes all the difference to them.

“Volunteering helps me too. It gets me out of the house and gives me something to look forward to.

“I’ve learnt so much about myself too, customers have shared their invaluable advice and life experience along the way.

“To anyone thinking of befriending for Revival or volunteering to help other people in general, I would say just do it! You learn so much. It helps build your confidence and you learn new skills all while helping other people along the way.”

Woman looking at man in a supportive way

Would you like to support someone living independently at home?

Find out more about befriending with Revival