Shopping, prescriptions, a phone call – Sheffield volunteers giving thousands of hours to support older people during pandemic

Tom Lee understands exactly how important a friendly ear can be.

Wednesday, 27th May 2020, 8:40 pm
Updated Thursday, 28th May 2020, 11:21 am
Volunteers and service users for Sheffield Churches Council for Community Care

As a volunteer for Sheffield Churches Council for Community Care, Tom shows up to all his visits armed with ice breakers and stories, but reveals they’re rarely needed.

“On my first visit to John, I was prepped with back-up stories about my own life in the event he wasn’t very forthcoming,” he explained.

“But John opened the door and declared: “I’m 94 and I’m going for the 100 so I can get my letter from her Majesty. I liked him instantly.”

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Volunteers and service users for Sheffield Churches Council for Community Care

Tom was inspired to join SCCCC in 2018 after reading an article about the effects of loneliness.

He said: “Following an internet search, I came across SCCCC and, after an initial meeting and formal induction, I was paired with Alice.

“Over the course of the next year or so, I visited Alice once a week, and our relationship blossomed, with me getting as much from the visits as Alice did.

“Sadly, Alice became quite unwell and so we agreed to stop my visits. I was then matched with John, who’s a real character.”

Volunteers and service users for Sheffield Churches Council for Community Care

Tom is one of 113 volunteers currently working hard for SCCCC around the city to support people in any way they can - from food and prescription drop offs, to phone calls and pen pal letters.

SCCCC has said there has never been a more important time to recognise the contribution of its army of volunteers, many of whom have been providing a vital lifeline to dozens of older people during the pandemic.

“Our volunteers are at the heart of SCCCC, they are crucial partners in our mission to help older people in the city,” said Mark Storey, CEO at SCCCC.

“The pandemic has caused many obstacles, but our volunteers have adapted well, replacing their weekly visits with telephone calls.”

Volunteers and service users for Sheffield Churches Council for Community Care

Tom added: “The positive impact that one hour a week could have on somebody’s life is immeasurable.

“Maybe one day, I’ll be elderly and lonely, and if that happens, I’ll be glad there are charities such as SCCCC to give me a new lease of life in an otherwise lonely world.”

Visit www.scccc.co.uk for details about SCCCC, or to donate.

Volunteers and service users for Sheffield Churches Council for Community Care