The Week Before ChristmasPosted on 23rd December 2015 by Sean de Podesta
The time just before Christmas is always very busy in the Neighbourhood Care Scheme (NCS) office as we try to get things done before the holiday shutdown. This year has been no exception. Here is one pre-Christmas story that certainly has a happy beginning and I hope will have a happy continuation in 2016…
Two weeks ago I was on my own in the office when I received a phone call from a woman who was very concerned about her friend Gerry. His wife had died just over a year ago and he was living on his own in the top flat of a Hove terrace; he was very isolated. As Gerry was 94 and not very steady on his feet, she was worried that he might fall on the stairs (as his wife had done). Also, she was a shopkeeper and was very busy over the Christmas period so she couldn’t get to see Gerry as often as she liked.
She had heard about us from one of her customers who happened to be an NCS volunteer and she wondered whether we could find a visitor for Gerry. Fortunately, Sharon, our Volunteer Co-ordinator for Gerry’s area, had no appointments that day and was able to visit him in the afternoon. Before she left work that evening she had found a volunteer, Maria, who would be happy to visit him.
Maria made her first visit over this weekend. I was in touch with both Maria and Gerry first thing on Monday morning. They both agreed that the visit had gone well and had already arranged to meet again this evening; a good start.
It is not often that we are able to match a person on the same day as they are referred to us, but it is nice when it happens. In this case it all stemmed from a casual conversation in a shop on the side of the city; a real case of one thing leading to another. Maybe one person who could be alone this Christmas will have something to look forward to in the New Year.
This morning, Jenny — a volunteer for the last eight years — came into the office with a big bag of change which had been collected by her neighbour, herself and the person she visits through NCS. We chatted for a little before she rushed off to work, and in passing she recalled how the woman she had previously visited had been worried about who would look after her cat after she’d gone. In fact, it was Jenny who had adopted the cat and was still looking after her three-and-a-half years later. This was an aspect of her volunteering I had not been aware of! It must have been a comfort to the woman to know that her cat would be cared for.
A nice story to hear just before Christmas, a good excuse to have a picture of a cat with this blog, and a good reason to look forward to 2016.