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“One lady was in tears telling me how much she loved my calls – she told me it had saved her life”

Leeds Written by Nikki, volunteer at Armley Helping Hands

I volunteer two hours a week running a befriending service at Armley Helping Hands. It’s such a rewarding thing to do, and it’s changed my own life as well. Two years ago, I had an accident which has left me disabled. I lost my job, and my independence and felt very lonely. At the beginning of 2018, I started volunteering at Armley Helping Hands, ringing elderly people in the community who wouldn’t speak to anyone if it weren’t for my calls. Speaking to people who are as isolated as I used to feel is something that benefits us both. Some of them don’t want a long conversation, but it’s good to check in with them, I ask them how their week has been. They know someone is there for them if they need to talk. Others love to talk to me, they tell me things they’ve thought of during the week. Some of them tell me about their past, when they were young. We can talk about anything – the weather, shopping, the area they live. Because I live locally as well, we have that in common.

I know it means a lot to them to have someone to speak to. One of the ladies was in tears telling me how much she loved my calls – she told me it had saved her life. I know that speaking to them every week has done as much for me as it has for the people I ring. I get the best of both worlds. I would encourage anyone to reach out to someone they think might be lonely or isolated. Maybe you know someone lives alone. You don’t have to do much, just a chat about the weather or asking how they are doing. You might feel silly doing it, but it could mean the world to someone else.

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