‘IT’S A TWO-WAY STREET’
Daphne Medcraft and Richard Fry have only known each other a few months, but it feels as though they are life-long friends.
Daphne was introduced to Richard following his application to Voluntary Norfolk’s North Norfolk Health Volunteer Service. Having lost his own grandparents, to whom he was very close, he applied to volunteer with the service as he wanted to have that connection with an older person again and give something back, as well as addressing his work/ life balance.
Daphne was referred to the service by her community physiotherapist as she was looking for support to go out for short walks to aid the healing of a leg condition.
Living close to the beach, she used to enjoy taking walks along the water’s edge but because it was a busy road she felt she needed support as she lives alone.
Daphne says she and Richard have become “great pals”. He began visiting on a weekly basis. Richard took Daphne out for lunch and has also cooked for them both. They are even planning a trip to Southwold.
During each visit there is a mutual respect and a great deal of chatting about all sorts of topics. Richard says: “The visits give me a different dimension to my working week and it’s nice to give something back.”
Daphne is in no doubt as to the difference Richard’s visits have made in her life. “He’s lovely – I don’t know what I’d do without him. And even when he’s not here, it’s a great comfort to think about what we’ve said and done, and to know that he’s not far away and he cares about me. It makes me feel a lot less lonely even when I’m on my own”.
“Volunteering is always a two-way street”, says Natalie Hickman, a Voluntary Norfolk coordinator. “Daphne and Richard are a great example of how a volunteer not only enhances the life of the person they’ve visiting, but can make a big difference to their own life too. There is a lot of loneliness across Norfolk and beyond, but it doesn’t take a lot of time or effort to transform the situation – for both the volunteer and the person they visit.”
If you are 18 or over, enjoy meeting and spending time with other people, and can spare an hour or so a week to change someone’s life, register your interest at voluntarynorfolk.org.uk
ABOVE: Daphne and Richard, part of Voluntary Norfolk’s health volunteer scheme