Being a befriender is a very rewarding experience. One of the main aims of befriending is to bring a smile to the face of the person you are visiting.
I invest just a little time, a little effort and a little compassion. The reward of sharing a small part of my week and some precious memories is so well worth it – I think it brightens my day more than anything else I do!
I visit a lady who rarely has a visitor and yet yearns for some company, someone to talk to … someone who will listen. She is actually so full of fun! She always makes me laugh and by the end of our hour-long weekly chat we are like two giggling schoolgirls! Sadly, she has quite a degree of memory loss, so I often get her to look at the wonderful photobooks from ‘Memories of Walsall’ which she loves.
She stares intently at ‘days gone by’ and you can see her reminiscing of the past. Then she recognises significant places of her youth in Walsall and tells me such poignant stories of when she was young.
There is one photo she adores deeply. It of Walsall’s busy, thriving street market just below St Matthew’s Church Hill. In the picture there are loads of stalls and multitudes of people. There is a sparkle in her eyes as she never fails to point out a very glamourous young lady in a lovely coat. She always says “This is me!” and is absolutely thrilled to spot herself in the grainy image, looking gracefully elegant as she does now.
To arrive and find someone looking lonely and sad and then leaving her re-living and enjoying her youth, still smiling, still laughing and joking is such a privilege.
I think everyone needs a little company from time-to-time and benefits from a little befriending. Why not try it? Call our friendly team on 01922 614316 and find out how you might learn to bring a smile to someone’s face again.
by Angie Harrison, Volunteer Befriender, Manor Farm Community Association