“When I speak with Kelly she asks me to tell her about my life experiences. She is worth her weight in gold.”

Whether it’s having a chat about last night’s telly, or checking in on their wellbeing, Kelly is one of many volunteers who make regular calls to people who may feel alone and isolated. For those who prefer chatting in person, volunteers go to people’s homes for ‘door step chatter’, while maybe dropping off some groceries or helping with paying a bill. 

The service, which is funded through the Integrated Care Fund, has had a lasting impact on people living in Cwm Taf. 

June* who lives in Abercynon referred to Kelly as “her link to sanity” after losing four friends to COVID-19:

“Kelly is worth her weight in gold; she is my friend, and I don’t have many left. I lost four friends this year to COVID-19, I was not coping at all. 

“If it hadn’t been for Kelly I would not have survived and never would have managed without her. 

“She is my light, she means the world to me. She is fabulous with a great family that I hope to see one day.” 

The support doesn’t stop at having a chat, picking up prescriptions or doing shopping.

Following on from conversations with carers, the service supplied Christmas gift boxes to 70 people living with dementia to give them something nice to open over the festive period. 

Knowing they may benefit from talking to people in a similar situation, volunteers matched ‘clients with clients’ for that extra special support. Now they Facetime and telephone each other while the volunteer remains in contact with them all. 

Volunteers have also helped those using the service to learn how to use digital technology. Some can even now shop online and speak to family via Facetime, which helps keep them connected.

You can read more about Age Connects Morgannwg’s ‘Reaching out Befriending Service’ here.

*Name has been changed, photos are stock

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Co-Production Network for Wales.