I popped into the Age UK office in Salisbury yesterday. A mince pie/coffee morning for volunteers. Because I only go to the office at a pretty set time each week, I tend to see the same few faces, so these social events are good opportunities to meet volunteers who I don’t see from week-to-week.
Yesterday, I met a lovely woman who did the same as me (telephone befriending) but who had only started doing it a few weeks ago. I mean, I’m still very much a noob myself, but at least I have a few months under my belt. Of course the conversation was limited to generalities so as to protect our clients’ confidentiality, but we both had similar experiences. This woman admitted to being very computer-illiterate, so only a couple of weeks in, feels like she’s fighting against the program that Age UK use. To be honest I consider myself very computer-literate, and still find some of the same. I tend to only push the buttons I need to complete my specific task, although the system does a lot more. Plus, I expect there’s a lot of stuff it wouldn’t allow me to see, even if I did look around.
I also met the Age UK employee who asked me to become a telephone befriender in the first place. It was lovely to see her, as she is normally based in their other office. I think we just clicked from when we first met, same kind of age, kids the same age, and so on. She has daughters, too, so we swapped stories. She is just about to celebrate that first christmas without one of the kids, which we did a year or two ago. She seems naturally very outgoing, so I guess she’s generally very popular at the charity. With me, it is a bit more forced. I’ve probably become more outgoing since the stroke, just because I’ve met people with such diverse backgrounds, but it is still an effort. I guess it must be really useful for a charity to have somebody like this woman on board, just in terms of quickly establishing a rapport with clients.
She obviously spotted that I wasn’t doing much, and pitched the telephone befriending role to me. So I was finally able to get involved, having been quite passive up until then. (When I originally volunteered, I had something within walking distance in mind, but the role requires travelling into their office in Salisbury.) But beyond that, I just wanted to help out, I had nothing specific in mind. The stroke work was the same.
I get the impression that a lot of my clients were met first by this woman, so she is familiar with back-stories, although doesn’t speak to them every week as I do. If I have any concerns, she is my first point of contact, so it helps that she has met them too. She often knows a bit more of the history than I do.
So, yes, all-in-all nice to meet some new colleagues, plus a refresher on some existing ones. Next stop, christmas!