Circles at Age UK Doncaster already knew we had an amazing team of volunteers but we have been blown away by their response to this crisis.  Many of them are working from home, have families to look after or are key workers but they still wanted to know what they could to support people during this time.

So far our volunteers are supporting around 80 people, with regular telephone calls and by shopping for essentials.

New friendships are developing and old ones are flourishing.

Louise and Brian didn’t have a chance to meet before lockdown but are having regular telephone chats and it looks like they’ve already found some common ground. Louise shared this feedback with us; ‘The real revelation today though was talking to Brian and finding out he was friends with my grandad and great uncle. He listed loads of my family members and told me things I wasn’t aware of! It was amazing.  We have family archive videos and he said he would love to see them after this, which would be wonderful. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was on some of them’.

Another new friendship is growing over a shared interest in scrabble.  Tina and Terry are both enjoying weekly online scrabble matches for now but are looking forward to having a face to face game when lockdown is over.

Lynn has been volunteering with Pam for quite a while now and their friendship continues to thrive during lockdown.  Lynn wanted to make sure that Pam’s recent birthday wasn’t forgotten so delivered a cake, complete with candles on the day and then followed up with a ‘telephone party’ that evening – candles were lit, wishes were made, cake was eaten and I believe a glass was raised by them both too to mark the occasion.  Pam was thrilled that her birthday had not only being remembered but also by the effort Lynn had made to ensure the day was special.

Simple acts of kindness make such a difference – Alice was incredibly moved to find a bouquet of tulips had been left in her porch by her volunteer, Rebecca.  That thoughtful gesture meant so much to Alice and really lifted her spirits

We have never underestimated the difference our volunteers make to people’s lives but now, more than ever, when feeling connected is vitally important, we are so very grateful that the kindness, care and reassurance they are giving to people is going such a very long way to help make these worrying and uncertain times a little to easier to endure

When this is all over we are looking forward to having a huge Circles get together – a chance for old friends to reconnect and for new friends to finally meet.