Neighbourhood Care Scheme

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

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S & Fiona’s Story

Painted garden gnome

She used to be a very busy and gregarious character and she simply hates to be alone.

Photo by Craig McLachlan on Unsplash

Fiona, a volunteer with the Impetus Neighbourhood Care Scheme (NCS), has kept a diary over the last few months. This record of her visits with her scheme member (identified here as S) gives a lovely insight into their developing friendship. Here are some highlights from different visits:

Today I met S for the first time. It was a bit of a struggle to understand a lot of what she was saying, due to her stroke and speech impairment. She talked quite a lot, I think about her family (a son and possibly a daughter) but as she confuses a lot of words it was a little difficult. That said she was able to tell me about what she did in WW2 and showed me a wonderful photograph of her, in uniform, as a young woman. She used to look after the wellbeing in a prisoner of war camp.


This time we met and her speech seemed a bit clearer. She told me more about her family, although she does feel they don’t see her enough, her granddaughters not at all which is sad if true. She talked about where she goes on her days out. Her mobility is not at all good but she seems to get around and out quite a lot.


S had been out to her church group today and was full of how lovely her lunch was. We had a real laugh. She wanted to tell me about what she had eaten but got stuck trying to describe it. I finally realised she meant pizza when she started describing the sounds of a motor bike and then mimed a knock at the door. We really laughed… I had finally got it! She tells me very often how frustrating she finds it. The words in her head are all clear but they won’t come out of her mouth correctly.


I had missed the previous week so S was pleased to see me. I told her about my trip to Sheffield and my sick friend but I had also printed out some A4 colour photos of the cathedral and a war memorial. She loved the photos and asked if she could keep them. She used to be a very busy and gregarious character and she simply hates to be alone. We went through to her back garden (in which she has everything from gnomes to concrete Disney characters). She said she used to love painting these garden objects and would I like to help her paint them as her hands now shake. I said that I would love to.

We settled down with paints and brushes in her lean-to and chatted away as I painted her favourite gnome. We chatted about this and that, how her new disability bath was still not put in and she had no idea when it would happen. Her communication gets better every time I go round so the chats are more and more fun.

S does look great for her age and I told her so but then she does take very good care of her appearance. Nails always beautifully done, hair and makeup, just so.


Came by at 5.30pm again and another hot, hot evening, chatting away, painting garden ornaments. S was in good mood. She had a call that morning that her long awaited new bath was to be fitted the next day. She had been told she would have to wait nine months but someone had called the company to say that this was not good enough and it had worked! Poor woman has been washing in the sink for months!


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