Sheffield widow hails charity’s letters and calls for making her feel less alone

A Sheffield woman left isolated when her husband passed away says an older persons charity’s phone calls and pen pal letters have made her feel less alone.
Muriel UnwinMuriel Unwin
Muriel Unwin

Muriel Unwin aged 91, from Stannington, was referred to Sheffield Churches Council for Community Care (SCCCC) for support because she lives alone- with carers her only regular visitors.

Now she speaks to telephone support volunteer Daniel once a week- as well as receiving letters thanks to the charity’s popular pandemic pen pal scheme.

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Muriel said: “I’ve been a service user for the Good Neighbours Scheme for a long time. I learned about it from a lady when I was on a community bus. I thought it would be good for me, as after my husband died I felt very alone.

“I live alone in sheltered accommodation- although my carers come and do my cleaning and washing and help me to make my meals. My family are also very supportive and bring my shopping for me.

“The pandemic has made me feel more alone, but Daniel phones me regularly. He is a lovely fellow. We talk about family, hobbies, holidays - lots of different things. I will be glad when we can have face-to-face visits, but until then I just feel lucky to have contact with someone- especially while not being able to get out to meet people.

“I really appreciate the calls, but I have also received lots of letters from people who have sent the charity pen pal cards. I try to write back – my carer helps me as I’m visually impaired and can’t see much. One little girl called Matilda writes back to me regularly – I think it’s safe to say that we are now officially pen pals!”

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SCCCC is currently recruiting new volunteers to be paired up with older people for telephone support. Anyone in South Yorkshire is eligible to help.

The charity hopes telephone calls may become friendly visits in the future, once the Covid-19 restrictions are lifted further. A full induction and DBS checks will be carried out to ensure all volunteers are suitable to support older people.

To find out more or to volunteer, email [email protected] or phone 0114 2505292.

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