‘What does volunteering give you?’ A word with our Volunteer

“A friend for life” is how Ronald Bloxham describes North Norfolk health volunteer Richard Fry.

There are so many benefits to volunteering that it’s impossible to cover them all in a couple of sentences. Instead, we have decided to let one of our volunteers, Richard, tell us what volunteering means to him. He describes the wonderful relationship he has built with Ronald, whom he met as a Health Volunteer in North Norfolk.

Ronald was referred to the service through an integrated care coordinator from his GP practice. He lived alone and wanted to have some social contact and support with his laptop, so he could send emails and use the internet.

Richard applied to become a volunteer with Voluntary Norfolk’s ‘North Norfolk Health Volunteers Service.’ He applied as he wanted to have that connection with an older person again after having such a close relationship with his grandparents, whom he had sadly lost. He also wanted to ‘give something back’ and find a work/life balance.

Following their introduction, Ronald joyfully reports that they have become ‘great friends,’ quickly developing a great rapport. His partnership with Richard has helped him settled into residential care, a decision he made following a hospital stay, with Richard continuing to visit him. They both enjoy each other’s company immensely and look forward to seeing each other. Their relationship has grown so much that Ronald now describes Richard as ‘a friend for life.’

During each visit there is a mutual respect and a great deal of chatting about all sorts of topics. Richard describes his visits as giving him a ‘different dimension to my working week and it’s nice to give something back.’ They both agree that they equally get something out of the befriending partnership and that it shouldn’t just be one sided.

‘Volunteering is always a two-way street’ says Natalie Hickman, the Voluntary Norfolk coordinator who made the introductions and supports the partnership. ‘Ronald and Richard are a great example of how a befriending volunteer not only enhances the life of the person they’ve visiting, but can make a big difference to their own life too! Whilst there is a lot of loneliness across Norfolk and beyond, it doesn’t take a lot of time or effort to transform the situation – for both the volunteer and the person they visit.’

Voluntary Norfolk is keen to hear from anyone across North Norfolk, who would like to become a Health Volunteer. If you are 18 years old or over, enjoy meeting and spending time with other people, and can put aside an hour or so a week to change a life and make a new friend, please contact  Natalie Hickman on 01263  519454 or by email.

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