Showcasing our amazing volunteers!
Our volunteers at Time & Talents have worked incredibly hard throughout the COVID lockdown. With 118 volunteers making regular phone calls to isolated residents, 26 volunteers delivering weekly food shops, and an ever-expanding team working incredibly hard at our brand new food bank delivering to 60 households – that’s around 250 people! It’s safe to say that we couldn’t function without our volunteers and their continual hard work.
Sadly, due to the lockdown, a large majority of the volunteering has been out of sight. That is why here at T&T, we want to champion and celebrate their hard work by highlighting a handful of our volunteer’s experiences during COVID. We hope you enjoy reading these stories as much as we did!
Doug: ‘I grew up in this area, I’ve lived and worked abroad for a few years and came back to the area recently… I wanted to get involved in the community and feel rooted again.
I first volunteered, about a year ago, for the project Cycling Without Age, taking housebound older people on joyrides in the cycle rickshaw to local green spaces, helping them get outside and ‘feel the wind in their hair’!
Now, since the coronavirus crisis, we’re using these cycle rickshaws to transport emergency food parcels to local families in need. It feels good to be doing something positive, but I’m also looking forward to when the rickshaws can be filled with people again rather than food parcels, and with people’s chatter and songs (yes, we sometimes sing on our cycle rides!)’
Georgina: ‘I’ve enjoyed getting to know my telephone befriendee over the past 6 weeks. It amazes me how many different things we cover in our conversations – a range of topics from music to race to family ancestry! Getting to know someone over the phone, although harder because it is not face-to-face has its advantages – it definitely removes another layer of judgement or prejudice.’
Stella: ‘Volunteering gives me a sense of purpose and fulfilment. I volunteered with T&T prior to Covid-19 in order to help someone who might benefit from my time by meeting them face to face, this was very rewarding as I got to understand how ‘just being there’ for another person can make such a big difference to their day.
I did not know what to expect [after lockdown and moving to phone befriending] however speaking to my Befriendee supersedes any expectation I might have had. I was able to understand even better how just speaking to someone during this circumstance and in general can mean so much to them and so much more to me.
At the age of 81, my befriendee is full of enthusiasm, joy and so much positivity even in these unprecedented times and I am very very grateful to have been placed with her, it is a connection which will last beyond the lockdown.’
Pat: ‘As a Christian and a Retired Practice Nurse who worked in the community in Southwark for many years and experienced first-hand the degree of loneliness felt by the elderly, I believe that by becoming a volunteer Befriender I have the opportunity to give my time to alleviate, be it in a small way, the separation and loneliness felt by many elderly members of our community.
I believe that such a role as a Befriender offers good benefit to elderly people, especially at this difficult time with this virus.’
Mother and daughter Kath (left) and Lucy (right) are volunteering at our food bank. Kath: ‘I think we all have to pull together in these times of trouble to help those less fortunate than ourselves.’ Lucy: ‘It’s nice to help out… it’s fun!’
Housemates Madi (left) & Lou (right): ‘We came to be involved with the wonderful work of T&T through their befriending programme which has been hugely enriching and rewarding. We feel that we’ve made great friends with the women we chat to and although we have never met, we have grown to have mutual care and affection. It’s also brought to light just how much we have to learn from the older generations and how much older people can be forgotten in our normal busy lives.
As our connection to T&T has gown (and since, as freelancers, we find ourselves unemployed during the pandemic) we’ve also been able to get involved with the foodbank, which has been enormously rewarding in a totally different way. It’s been wonderful to offer our skills and time to the community and to feel that we are making a tangible difference to the lives of others.
We can’t thank Time & Talents enough for the opportunity to help and to grow through volunteering and would encourage anyone to get involved.’
Jeannie : ‘My beneficiary has lived in Southwark all her life, and I love to hear all about the old, Old Kent Road which is where she grew up. We have also discovered we both like clothes and good weather.’
Jacqui: ‘Befriending has given me so much, it’s great to learn new things and look forward to talking to someone.’
Befriender David (and his cute dog!): ‘My befriendee recently had a break-in at home and she found it helpful to have another person to talk to, someone who could listen and help her move on from such an awful and frightening experience.’