"It’s a lovely feeling to know you are helping to look after someone who is more vulnerable than yourself.”


Meet Joyce, 78, and volunteer Laura, 20, who live in Leicestershire. Laura started helping Joyce after she was in hospital following a fall.

Joyce Mee

“I tripped and fell and broke my shoulder. It was right on the street and everyone was watching, which I found embarrassing. It’s still quite painful even now but it’s getting much better, which is a relief.

“Laura came to see me when I was back at home after hospital. She’s been so helpful in supporting me with the things I need. It’s so nice of her to take time out of her busy life to help me. I was having real trouble with getting shopping, just to get food for the week, and Laura has taken me to the local shops to help me get what I need.

“I don’t have any family or many friends, just one friend from within my housing complex. This means I rarely see people, and I don’t have any support from people for times like this when I need it.

“It’s really nice to be able to see Laura every week. Just having a cup of tea and a chat with someone regularly is a really positive addition to the week. It’s just a simple thing but it helps to build your self–esteem and confidence.

Just going out for a walk is nice as you get a change of scenery. I spend a lot of time in my flat so it’s nice to get out sometimes.

“I feel more confident being able to perform the basic tasks that I took for granted before, like getting food out of a cupboard, or getting groceries. If I hadn’t been for Laura I would have had to lean on social services, as there was a period of time when I just wasn’t able to be independent and just didn’t feel like I could be on my own.”

Laura Wrightman

"The first thing that struck me about Joyce was her isolation; she is the only person I know who doesn’t have the support of family. She doesn’t have any relatives, so she really has very little contact with people.

“She’s been having a lot of difficulties with her shoulder after her accident and it’s meant she just hasn’t been able to get out and about. Getting food shopping is something everyone needs to do, but she just wasn’t able to do it on her own.

“Leaving hospital would work fine for people who have a partner, family, or close friends nearby, but for people like Joyce who don’t have this support, volunteers like myself and those at Royal Voluntary Service help provide the practical and emotional support needed for when older people leave hospital. Joyce is now more confident and independent, and while there is definitely still progress to be made, I think she’s in a better place now.

“I joined Royal Voluntary Service while at University and realised I was at a time in my life when I had more free time - I would encourage anyone in a similar situation to do the same. Volunteering with Joyce takes very little time out of my life, and it’s a lovely feeling to know you are helping to look after someone who is more vulnerable than yourself.”

Laura and Joyce were matched through our Home from Hospital service, which helps vulnerable people to safely return home after a stay in hospital. To find out more about our Home from Hospital service, see here or take a look at volunteering roles here.

Posted by at 00:00 Tuesday, 12 February 2019.

Back to list