Like a lot of our volunteers, Celia is ex-Civil Service and was looking for something to do post retirement. We stood out to her initially as she is interested in pursuing a further career at some point in the charity sector and thought the experience would be valuable and could also serve as a good reference for potential employers. We are also tied to the Civil Service which helped, but there was another, big reason that Celia chose to work with us.

After retiring Celia spent a number of years helping to care for her mum who had unfortunately been diagnosed with cancer. She had to re-locate and it was tough, but with the help of her brother they were able to see their mum through the worst of it. Celia said:

“During that time, I realised that amongst other things, older people on their own just need someone to go round for a cup of tea and a chat – it’s as simple as that!”

Celia’s brother - who is extremely busy and initially found it hard to juggle work and helping his mother recover - started going to the house to work. Celia noticed that her mum would be noticeably more positive on the phone when she spoke to her during her brother’s visits - even if they weren’t in the same room or having much interaction whilst her brother was working.

This struck Celia, who spoke with us and started visiting Brenda – whose life Celia says had ‘taken a dive’ after her husband had died. She was extremely lonely, and in need of some company. Both Celia and Brenda absolutely love seeing each other, and look forward to the visits.

They speak about all kinds of things, including their shared pasts as Civil servants. Celia is particularly enamoured though, by Brenda’s vivid memory for the area she lives. Brenda has lived there her whole life, since the late 1920’s, and can recall how the area has changed and interesting buildings and events that have stood and happened.

Celia loves listening to the stories and plans to bring a notepad along to their next visit. She tells us that she’s hoping to start plotting a social history of the area using Brenda’s memories as the starting point! We’ve wished her best of luck on the project and look forward to hearing how it goes.

The National Visitors Network provides a little bit of company and friendly social contact plus it helps to reduce feelings of loneliness and increases motivation and confidence. If you would like to receive a visit, become a visitor or find out more you can give us a ring (all calls treated in strictest confidence) on 020 8691 7411 or email: [email protected]