EDP Norfolk - - Voluntary Norfolk -

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

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