Help at Hand Finds A Perfect Match in North Warwickshire
It was fate that brought them together, after a failed attempt to meet a man in Water Orton, Jaydene Biddulph was paired with a lady from Coleshill.
This is a story about love, but not an ordinary love story, a story of a true friendship forged after Jaydene answered an advert by the Volunteer Centre North Warwickshire for a Help at Hand befriender.
Jaydene had seen the advert several times in the local Gazette and cut it out four times. On the fourth time she finally contacted the centre and found out more about becoming a befriender for the Help at Hand project. The Volunteer Centre North Warwickshire’s Help at Hand project matches people in the local community with people who need help the most – sick, elderly or disabled.
The project is funded by the Big Lottery and has been running for two years in North Warwickshire. Volunteers have helped people in a number of ways doing a bit of gardening, DIY, shopping and dog walking. In the last year befriending has become a popular opportunity for Help at Hand promoting them to regularly advertise for volunteers and people to come forward who could benefit from a befriender.
After going through the relevant checks she was paired with an elderly lady in Coleshill. Eva Moulstone wanted a friend. She lost her husband four years ago and was finding life lonely. Although she says she has had a wonderful life and place to live, there was something missing. Befrienders give time to other people, usually lonely or isolated. They support them and listen to them on a one to one basis. As a relationship builds, some befriending extends to going out on social activities together.
The Help at Hand project originally tried to pair Jaydene with a man in Water Orton. Jaydene says, “I didn’t actually meet the man, but when Martin, the Help at Hand Training Coordinator, told him about me on the phone, he said he wanted a younger model, so his loss was Eva’s gain. When I went to see Eva I immediately clicked with her, we got on so well, we are definitely the perfect match. I visit her once a week and we talk about everything and anything.”
Martin Horner says, “It’s important that a befriender and the person they are visiting feel comfortable together. It’s good that people are honest and if it is not for them, we welcome them to tell us, so we can sort out a better pairing.”
Eva says, “It’s so good that there are volunteers out there like Jaydene and organisations like the Volunteer Centre North Warwickshire who have the knowledge and expertise to set up projects like Help at Hand. It’s great the way I have been paired with Jaydene. She makes great tea and cake and I can talk about anything to her.”
Eva had also seen the Help at Hand project advertised in the local press and rang the Volunteer Centre. She says, “I’m really glad I did, I look forward to Jaydene coming round. She’s always there for me and will do anything for me.”
As well as the regular meetings at Eva’s home, Jaydene also takes her to see one of her friends at a local elderly people’s home. One day Eva mentioned the friend and how she was no longer able to get out and see her, so Jaydene took her in her car on an outing out to the home. “We visit regularly now, as well as looking forward to seeing Eva, I think she quite likes it that I come along as well,” says Jaydene.
Jaydene insists she has benefited as much as Eva from the Help at Hand project. She says, “I haven’t got grandparents so this volunteering opportunity enriches my life, I can’t talk to them, but now I have Eva to talk to instead. She tells me lovely things and lovely stories about her life, I feel privileged to know her.”
The Help at Hand project is continuing to work in North Warwickshire. If you have been inspired by Jaydene and Eva’s story and would like some help or would like to become a befriender, give the team a ring on 01827 717073 or visit the website www.vcnw.org.uk.