November 1-7 is Befriending Week, a time to raise awareness of befriending and celebrate the amazing friendships that have been formed through befriending schemes.
To commemorate the week, we spoke to Mike and Nicki. The pair were matched up through our 'Friends on the Phone' initiative, and have now been great friends for almost two years!
At the beginning of the pandemic, we launched 'Friends on the Phone' to help combat loneliness for residents and tenants. Nicki, 56, and Mike, 73, both signed up and were matched up in April 2020.
Nicki said: “I volunteered to be a friend on the phone to a resident or tenant at Brunelcare in early 2020. I thought it was a lovely thing to do and could be beneficial for both myself and my befriendee. I was excited to start a new friendship with someone, and I couldn't have imagined that I would meet someone who would grow to become so special to me.
The conversation always feels very natural with Mike, there are no awkward silences and it never feels forced. It’s very much a two-way street; it isn’t just me befriending him, he has befriended me too.”
The pair, who only live a quarter of a mile away from each other, were able to meet up for the first time in July 2020 to be interviewed on BBC Points West. Mike and Nicki were thrilled to finally meet in person, and have since met up several times at the pub and on walks.
Through their appearance on BBC Points West, Mike was even able to reunite with an old school friend who reached out to Brunelcare after seeing Mike on the TV!
Mike said: “I thoroughly enjoy talking to Nicki, we have very similar interests and have lots of friends in common too! What Nicki and I have is pure friendship, I really enjoy speaking to her and spending time with her. I have met her husband and we have all been out for meals together, it’s great fun!”
Emma Gwynne, Community Engagement & Volunteering Manager at Brunelcare, said: “It’s great to see that lasting friendships have been made from the initiatives we launched during the pandemic, it’s so lovely to see volunteering bring people together. Mike and Nicki are just fab, and I’m sure they’re going to be lifelong friends. We run lots of volunteering initiatives at Brunelcare and are always looking for more people to get involved!”
To find out more about volunteering opportunities at Brunelcare, click here.
This month, in an effort to raise £4,000 for a new interactive dementia table for Glastonbury Care Home, Brenda Moxey rowed six miles along the Parratt Canal in her kayak.
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1-5 November marks Trustees' week, and we would like to thank our wonderful trustees for their hard work and continued support.
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This Black History Month, Oona shares her story of moving to the UK from Jamaica, and her time at Colliers Gardens.
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