Christmas Gathering (Fandango’s Friday Flashback)

Yay, it is Friday once again, which can only mean one thing – Fandango’s Friday Flashback. Fandango uses these opportunities to reblog one of his posts from this day in a previous year, just to let his current readers see what he was up to back then. I feel like I am walking along a path of recovery, so the idea is useful for me too because it indicates how far I’ve come.

I couldn’t find a compelling entry to repost today, so I just thought I’d share a post that I wrote a year ago about some of the charity work I do.

Early on after the stroke, I realised that one of my goals had to be to get myself busy once again. I started volunteering for the Stroke Association, then a few months afterwards, I decided I could take on a little more, for Age UK. My original thought was that there might be some clients in my village, within walking distance of home, who I could help, but nothing ever materialised. I helped out at a couple of one-off activities, but largely remained dormant. It was not until the summer of 2018 that somebody had the bright idea of asking me to become a telephone befriender. It meant getting the bus into their office in Salisbury to make the calls, but by that time, I was mobile enough to commit to making the journey each week.

And so I became a telephone befriender. I have a list of around ten clients, and each week I give each of them a call, one by one. That’s it. The subject matter is absolutely anything, usually centering just on what we’ve been up to the last week.

At Age UK’s office, I usually see a couple of other volunteers, just really to say Hi. There are also anything up to four paid organisers. But I work in a back room, and close the door so as not to disturbe anyone. The upshot is that I hardly see other volunteers for any length of time. And, the faces I do see out front are the same each week.

So when Age UK organise a mince pie and coffee at christmastime for their volunteers, it is a good opportunity to meet some of the others. It’s a shame I couldn’t make it this year, which was yesterday, but this is my experience from last year.

Mister Bump

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…

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  1. Well done you! I speak to most people that I see when doing my morning walk. Some do nor respond, but I persevere each day. I may be the only contact they have that day and I know that a kind word, or a friendly smile, can do wonders for the soul!

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