This week we have been delighted to see two of our Telephone Befrienders appearing on Helpforce’s ‘Wall of Fame’. The Wall of Fame is part of Helpforce’s ‘Big Thank You’ to Volunteers, to nationally showcase the amazing impact volunteers have on health and social care.

Meet Glenys

Glenys Ford is an amazing Community Support Befriending volunteer and has been volunteering for Lancashire Volunteer Partnership, the one-stop shop for public service volunteering in Lancashire, for many years. Glenys has gone above and beyond in her volunteering community befriender role, supporting isolated and vulnerable people in West Lancashire for many years.

Over six years ago, Glenys was matched with Jim who suffered from dementia, and for several years, stayed with him in his home once a week while Bal, his wife and carer, had some much-appreciated respite time. Glenys was a calming presence for Jim. He never got upset or angry when she was around. She had something special about her that reassured him, calmed him and made him feel at peace. Glenys has also supported Bal through cancer. When Bal was diagnosed with breast cancer, Glenys gave her lifts to dozens of appointments. A talented baker, Glenys made a birthday cake for them every year.

Sadly, Jim passed away. Glenys supported his wife through her grief, even helping to make funeral arrangements and was there by her side on the day of the funeral. Glenys has been her rock since losing her husband and continues to support her twice a week as a Telephone Befriender while Coronavirus prevents them meeting face-to-face.

Originally from Brazil and a native Portuguese speaker, English is Bal’s second language so sometimes she lacks confidence socially. Glenys is supporting Bal’s growing confidence by developing her independence and making links in her area. Before lockdown, Bal had been going to the local community centre on her own and was starting to build up a social network of people around her.

Despite the massive upheaval Bal has been through losing her husband and then feeling isolated in lockdown, thanks to her ‘lifeline’ of Glenys, she has made fantastic progress and has even discussed the possibility of becoming a volunteer herself. Wouldn’t that be an amazing and heart-warming story of how her volunteer Glenys has changed her life; inspiring and empowering more volunteering in West Lancashire.

Since lockdown in March 2020, Glenys has had to adjust from her usual face-to-face role in the community and do her befriending remotely by telephone. This hasn’t slowed Glenys down one bit. Since Covid, she supports five lonely, vulnerable or isolated people every week..

Everybody needs a Glenys. This lady is a truly selfless person, dedicated to making people’s lives that little bit better when they can be in the darkest place.

Meet Sue

Sue Anglicas has been a Volunteer within the Wyre Community Support Befriending area since just prior to the lockdown coming into force. Originally the intention was to provide Sue with a face-to-face befriending opportunity.

However, the pandemic forced a different path and Sue kindly said she would support our newly introduced Telephone Befriending offer instead. As a result, one of our Wyre clients has been on the receiving end of a very dedicated and reliable volunteer.

Sue has been making regular calls to a young lady called Rebecca who has underlying health issues to deal with on a daily basis including asthma and arthritis. Sue has a social and health care background and it’s clear from the way she uses her prior experience, that she shares her skills and knowledge in a good way with Rebecca and as a result there is a trusting relationship.

Rebecca has said very positive things about Sue, such as she is open, friendly, and has been a person she could trust to talk to especially in the early days of lockdown when Rebecca was particularly worried about the virus, coupled with shielding due to underlying health worries. Sue has, and continues to make a very positive difference to Rebecca’s mental health every week in, week out.