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“David has lifted my depression"
Meet Heulwen who has been matched with David through the Gwynedd Good Neighbours service after her husband passed away and she started to feel isolated and depressed. Visits from David have lifted her depression and made life worthwhile.
Heulwen was born in Caernarfon in Wales but spent most of her married life in Birmingham where her husband’s family lived. After nearly 40 years in the Midlands, they moved back to Caernarfon but so much had changed that Heulwen felt like a stranger.
When her husband died a few years ago, Heulwen was left on her own. Her eyesight started to deteriorate which meant she was no longer able to enjoy painting and gardening which she used to love.
David has been coming to see her for more than a year. He always brings cake to share and Heulwen makes the tea, and they chat.
“David is a very good companion. I always look forward to his visits. He reminds me of where I used to live, many years ago, before I moved to Birmingham. We reminisce and go over old memories and I feel happy when I do this - it reminds me of when I was young, of happier times. Talking to David lifts my mood.”
David is a retired sales manager in his mid-70s. He started volunteering after he lost his wife to breast cancer a few years ago:
“After my wife died, I started feeling depressed and the days seemed to be getting much longer. A friend suggested volunteering as a way of giving me a focus and it’s really helped me. It gets me out of the house and when I come home I have a real sense of satisfaction.”
David is always at the end of the phone if Heulwen has any problems and she says his visits have made a huge difference to her life:
“David has lifted my depression and he stops me feeling lonely. Nobody knows what loneliness is unless you have experienced it. It makes you feel unwanted”.
Thanks to funds raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery
, Royal Voluntary Service volunteers are able to help more many more people across Great Britain.
“Volunteering gives me so much joy”
Meet Shirley who volunteers twice a week serving coffee and cake at the Vintage Tea Room at Chesham House in Lancing. She also volunteers at their Lunch Club, which serves sociable meals to older people. She started volunteering a couple of years ago and it helped her to re-connect with life after losing her husband.
“I absolutely love volunteering
, it gives me so much joy. I was very down after losing my husband, who I had nursed for 6 years. I didn’t want to go out or do anything. It was only after some counselling sessions that I started to feel more positive about life. Someone recommended that I start volunteering and I haven’t looked back.”
Volunteer and make a difference
Shirley volunteers every Tuesday and Wednesday in the tea room with her friend Angela: “I serve the delicious homemade cakes and Angela makes the drinks. I met Angela through volunteering and we are a great double act! We just love chatting to the members and making people laugh.”
“I would recommend volunteering to anyone. After retiring it’s hard to just down tools and manage all the extra time you have. I was shy at first but I soon got into it and now can’t imagine my life without it. I’ve so many new friends and it’s nice to know that you are helping older people who don’t have anyone to talk to unless they come into the tea room. It’s so nice to be needed.”
Shirley was featured on Good Morning Britain with our ambassador, Wayne Sleep
. Find out more about volunteering to make a difference in your community
or get support near you