Neighbourhood Care Scheme

Working with local volunteers to support older people, people with physical disabilities and carers.

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Elaine & Miles’ Story

Elaine & Miles NCS Story - photo by Phil Coomes

We both get enjoyment from seeing each other.

Elaine is 89. After the death of her partner she was feeling depressed, so the manager of the sheltered housing scheme where she lives referred her to the NCS. The volunteer she was matched with is Miles, who has now been seeing her for over three years.

“I always consider myself so lucky to have Miles. It’s great to have a laugh and a joke with him. I would love other people to have someone like Miles.”

– Elaine, Scheme Member (NCS)

Miles visits Elaine once a week for around an hour – it’s easy for him to pop in, since the NCS matches scheme members with local volunteers who live as close to them as possible to combat travelling issues.

“I love chatting and listening to her stories. She is so funny and has lots of anecdotes that make me laugh and gives an insight into the wonderful life she has led through different and earlier times.”

– Miles, Volunteer (NCS)

Throughout the three years plus that they’ve known each other Elaine has shared funny and interesting stories about her life, which are both entertaining and insightful. Here is one particular example:

“She tells me stories about when she was travelling with her husband who was in the army. One story I like is when she was in a bar with friends and one of them had his cigarette draped over the back of the sofa. Elaine smelt burning and realised that the fur coat of the young woman sitting behind them was on fire!”

Elaine and Miles do a variety of things together, including going to see a production of Anne Boleyn (who Elaine loves) at the Theatre Royal which they both enjoyed – and sometimes they just go out for lunch, one of the simple things in life that is easy to take for granted.

“When I first thought about volunteering, I wasn’t sure about what to expect but I’ve always enjoyed meeting a wider section of people in our community and I believe we all benefit from having a broad group of friends with different experiences and outlooks. Knowing Elaine is like having a friend I otherwise would never have met, we both get enjoyment from seeing each other.”

In May 2014 the BBC visited Elaine and Miles to learn about their story. They published the article, “Loneliness: Beating the curse of old age”, on the 22nd of May. The article highlights how the relationship between Elaine and Miles has helped keep loneliness at bay for Elaine, and it features lots of lovely photos of the two together.

Could you or someone you know benefit from the NCS?

Please visit our get support page to get in contact with us.

Do you want to make a difference and volunteer?

Please visit our volunteer page to get in contact with us.

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