Violet’s says she was left ‘out on a limb’ after health problems left her less mobile. Luckily her friendship with one of our volunteer’s Chris has ‘helped immensely’ – she’s not sure what she’d do without them!

Violet was an avid dancer and community member until issues with her legs meant she was suddenly, almost completely housebound. She could no longer attend dance groups, or her local community group to keep socially active. Her only family is a niece who lives in New Zealand, who tries to call as often as she can but Violet’s hearing problems mean that, on bad days, she doesn’t take a lot from the calls and they don’t last long. This meant she could go long stretches not speaking to anyone.

Like most of our beneficiaries, Violet suffered from a build-up of common issues, like health degradation and a diminished social circle as she got older - which lead to isolation and loneliness seemingly from no-where.

Chris, like Violet, is an ex-Civil Servant and came across our befriending scheme in his pre-retirement pack. He was on the lookout for volunteering to do in his new found free time, but had some specific requirements. He needed it to be flexible and specifically he needed to be able to choose the times he worked – he told us that although he wanted to volunteer, ‘he wasn’t interested in having another full time job!’

Our scheme works perfectly for Chris, who chooses to visit once a week. We also stood out to him as he wanted to work with people in some way, he’s a chatty person so wanted the time spent to be social.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

“I got really lucky with Violet; she’s well-travelled and has lots to talk about”

They evidently both feel this way about each other. Violet tells us that Chris knows she loves seeing pictures of his dogs (of which he has two) so he takes new ones every week while walking them - just to show Violet. Chris really enjoys doing this and has in turn grown very fond of Violet’s cat. So we weren’t surprised to hear that after a recent trip to Africa, Chris was looking forward to showing all of his pictures to Violet; who thought they were ‘wonderful.’

Chris tends to show his photo’s on his IPad which Violet is fascinated by. She loves the resolution of the pictures and is still entertained when Chris ‘Google’s’ the answer to questions they might be debating. Although she uses little technology herself, she likes to speak about it with Chris. They also speak at length about television, which they both watch ardently. They love swapping show ideas, and have a shared love of drama shows.

Chris is aware of the loneliness that older people can suffer from, and how it isn’t always possible for family to fill the void. In his case his parents live extremely far away, so he is delighted to be able to visit Violet and help alleviate her struggles.

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]