Meet Carol from South Yorkshire who receives support from her local Good Neighbours companionship service. She tells us why the Winter months can be hard and why her volunteer brightens her day.
“I have had help from Royal Voluntary Service for over a year now and it has made an immense difference to my life. I had asked for help from other organisations and was either told that the services had stopped or received no reply. For an older person who lives alone and with illness, this was really not good.
“Just by chance, I came across my local services details and left a message. Much to my surprise, I got a call back very soon after from a very special, lovely bubbly lady who took my details and explained about what the organisation did.
“The same lady became a huge support to me by visiting once a week and helping me by becoming my friend, advising me and helping me with my weekly shop. I really look forward to her visists which always brighten me up. My volunteer is very caring, understanding, chatty and fun; a lifeline to someone who does not always see a lot of other people.
“The service is excellent and I would be lost without it. It means a great deal to me and lots of others. I would definitely recommend it to others.
“In the Winter months, I get more depressed and my pain increases with the cold, wet climate, as it does for many people. I find December particularly depressing when it’s dark at 4pm. One feels more isolated and alone.
“People are busy with family plans or preparations and have less time to chat. It seems rubbish if you are on your own at Christmas; even the TV adverts have people gathered together or around a large table. People rush in from the cold so you see even less of others than normal. Getting around is also more difficult.
“I think if you’re on your own you are more vulnerable and feel less safe in a lot of situations today and even more so in Winter months when there are fewer people about. The evenings and nights seem darker somehow.
“The best thing about my volunteer and local service is that you have that friendship, support and kindness. It makes you feel more included in society. My faith in humanity has been restored.”
Royal Voluntary Service is part of the Met Office’s Get ready for Winter campaign. Read volunteer David's blog about what we can do to make winter a less lonely time for older people. Our network of volunteers help vulnerable older people like Carol to stay independent and connected throughout the year.