Over thirty years ago, as a member of the WI, Bernie and others hosted an annual tea party for Re-engage at her village hall in Essex. When we launched our call companion service during lockdown last year, she got in touch. She was matched with Naomi, who lives in Cardiff, and they have been speaking to each other every week for almost a year now.
Bernie: "Naomi and I have a very happy friendship."
“Speaking to Naomi is like looking through a perfect window into another person’s life, in a different part of the county. We have different interests and it’s been such a pleasure getting to know her; learning all about where she comes from and the programmes that she watches on TV. She and I have a very happy friendship.
“Our relationship works both ways and she likes to try out the things that I enjoy too. She started watching the Sewing Bee when she found out how much I enjoy crafts. Last week I tried out a steak recipe that she sent me.
“Naomi’s a very vibrant person and a wonderful communicator; a natural on the telephone. She’s thoughtful and has a big heart, and she’s very reliable. I can time a watch by when she’ll call every week.
“During the pandemic life felt like a blank canvas and it made such a difference to have something to look forward to every week.
“We all need social contact and Re-engage is the perfect organisation for times like these. I’d recommend the charity to anyone who could do with the companionship of a regular weekly phone call.”
Naomi: 'Since I lost my father last year, Bernie has been a great support to me.'
“I got in touch with Re-engage during the first lockdown. I wanted to reach out and help in any way I could and had read that loneliness, especially amongst older people, was becoming a huge problem. I knew that this problem was only going to get worse during lockdown.
“Bernie and I immediately hit it off. She’s incredibly easy to get on with and, whilst not all our interests are the same, we have enough in common to have a good old chin wag every week.
“I hope that I’m as active mentally when I’m her age. I’m continually impressed at her discipline as she gets out for daily walks and her motivation with arts and crafts projects. She’s an inspiration to me!
“Volunteering is a two-way street and, since I lost my father at the end of last year, Bernie has been a great support to me. I hope I’ve also been a support to her.
“I would certainly recommend becoming a call companion to anyone who is thinking of getting involved. It provides a window into someone else’s life, and it’s always good to make a new friend.”
Our face to face activity groups in Wales
We have launched our free weekly face to face inclusive exercise sessions for those over 75 in Wales. The groups include: dance, chair yoga, tai chi and general activities and take place in a relaxed and friendly setting.
Our volunteers keep spirits up during lockdown.
Throughout lockdown, every three months, volunteers from the Thurrock tea party group have delivered tea treats to their guests, as a reminder they have been thinking of them during these difficult times.