Last year I signed up as a beneficiary with the Help at Hand befriending project. I had only been in the area for two years, and did not have many friends here. Because I have a disability, I was being supported by a care company who took me out for two hours a week. But they were so busy and I wasn’t being taken out as much as I wanted.

I met my befriender, Anne, through the Help at Hand project. She was marvellous and nothing was ever too much trouble. No matter if I wanted to go out or just to stay in for a cup of tea and a chat, we always had a good laugh. We went for coffee, a meal or a bit of shopping, and Anne even took me to buy a new mobility scooter. Anne is a lovely person and is worth her weight in gold. She always made me feel that nothing was too much trouble and that I actually mattered.

Gradually, I was able to get out and about more on my own and things improved. I am now involved in some social groups and I was asked if I would like to be a befriender myself, using my mobility scooter.  I was so humbled at being asked and said yes right away.

Sadly, I was diagnosed with another condition (to add to the list!) and it has taken me longer to get back on track. The plan to be a befriender myself has been delayed a bit, but Volunteering Matters didn’t forget about me. They offered me another position, a voluntary role that I can do from home with my mobile and laptop, even in my pyjamas or if I’m having a bad day!

When you have spent years with chronic conditions you get to the stage where you think you are no use to anyone. Being offered a voluntary role with Volunteering Matters has given me the biggest lift in years and everyone has been lovely so far. I feel like I belong here.