Be a friend for those in need in Romford
09:00 19 July 2014
A volunteering network that provides a lifeline to the elderly or housebound, whether by dropping in for a cup of tea and a chat or driving someone to a hospital appointment, has asked those who need help or could provide assistance to get in touch.
Voluntary Care Romford was established by a group of churches and synagogues in 1990. In the past 24 years it has helped people with everything from pet care and shopping to providing a lift to appointments and social occasions.
For 86-year-old Jean Fearon a visit from volunteer Carol Pyman, 74, is a “highlight” of her week.
Carol simply calls into Jean’s Romford home each Monday for a cup of tea and a chat – something Jean says makes a huge difference.
“My family are lovely but they do not live around here and lovely Carol comes and visits me in the week – we both enjoy it.”
Jean said that in recent years the stream of visitors that would previously fill her living room has gradually reduced. And this is where Voluntary Care Romford has been able to step in and provide much appreciated company.
Jean urged others to get in touch adding: “I would say to others, give it a try. They are lovely people to give up their time – they are very kind.”
It is not just Jean who enjoys the meetings. When I joined the pair for a cup of tea on Monday her living room was filled with laughter.
Carol said: People think when you get older you cannot talk but we chat away and have a cup of tea.
“It’s most rewarding. I enjoy talking to people – you find things out about people. Jean’s interesting.”
For 78-year-old Shirley Maynard, Voluntary Care Romford is able to provide practical support.
Shirley, of Romford, is more or less housebound and said the service was a “lifeline”, ensuring she made it to and from hospital appointments.
“I had a car accident before Christmas and the car was a write-off so I decided I would not drive anymore,” she said. “I’m stuck unless someone takes me somewhere and I have to go to hospital appointments.
“They’re very nice. Yesterday a volunteer took me for a blood test and he came with a big umbrella to make sure I did not get wet.”
Friends had been helping Shirley, but she said discovering the voluntary service had provided her with the security of knowing assistance was only a phone call away.
However Voluntary Care Romford is in need of more volunteer drivers to help it continue this vital service.
Shirley said: “Before I found the service, I thought, I cannot keep asking friends and I want some independence. If Voluntary Care cannot keep running I will just be housebound. I won’t be able to keep all my hospital appointments because I can’t keep asking people. I would be inside all the time.”
Jessica Pugh, 92, of Romford agreed. Voluntary Care Romford has been ensuring she can attend weekly social functions.
She said: “I had not been going because I was afraid of falling over. I came across Voluntary Care and they are all so thoughtful and kind.
“I would not be going there otherwise and we have talks. You chat to other people. It gets you out of the house – not just to go to the surgery.
“I do not know what I would do without them.”
The charity would like to help more people and wants those in need of support or company to contact it.
It is also in need of more volunteer drivers and a new chairman.
One of the services founders, Betty Hollindrake, said that volunteers, who are interviewed and CRB checked, give the time they were able under no obligation.
To contact the service call 07850 365785, 10am to 5pm Monday to Friday.