Rachel first spoke to Sally back in September 2020 through the friendship calls programme. In her referral notes it said she was a victim of domestic violence. When I spoke to Sally she told me she felt very emotional, lonely and depressed. Her parents and children live down South and she has no family or friends in Rotherham. She moved to Rotherham to be with her partner (this is the violent partner), she no longer has any contact with him.
Sally told me that would like to meet new people and start working again, even if it’s just a few hours a week. However, since the domestic abuse she has lost all confidence in herself and has low self-esteem. Sally also suffers from bipolar disorder and has done since 2012. During our 50-minute conversation Sally became very upset on several occasions.
A year on and Sally is like a different person. We have kept in touch on a regular basis over the past year and it is amazing to see the difference in her. In the early days of meeting Sally, she started to attend the craft and welling being sessions at The Thurcroft Hub which she really enjoyed. From there she has volunteered at the Social Supermarket, joined a running club and got involved with a few local activities too. More recently Sally attended our Tenant Coffee morning at Springwell Gardens, this was the first time I had actually met her in person which was lovely. Sally thoroughly enjoyed the coffee morning and from that she has filled in the forms to become a volunteer with RotherFed, she has also attended a council meeting and plans to attend another one later this month. Sally has also agreed to help me at a couple of events in Thurcroft in November. I am looking forward to working with Sally and seeing her progress even more than she as done already.
Quote from the Tenant Coffee Morning:
“It was so good to finally meet you in person today and your colleagues, what a lovely bunch. I can honestly say I haven’t laughed like that, except with my old friends, since I’ve lived up here. Thank you for all being so welcoming to me. Volunteer forms being filled in as we speak xxx”.
Steven was referred to us back in October last year. He is out on probation after committing assault again another man. He has been trying to get his life back on track, and in the interim has been struck with medical problems. The conversations between the volunteer and Steven are always so positive and he is very open and honest with his dialogue.
Sophia is an Asian lady who began making calls for us back in November last year. She was a very nervous individual who had extreme anxiety due to her previous marriage situation and ostracisation from her Asian community. She blossomed making the calls and was doing very well. It was after few months that her husband contracted Covid and she had to step back into the role as wife. This created a very anxious situation for her and she decided after having some mental health first aid from her coordinator, to take some time out. After some time, she then decided to resume her volunteer role. She was allocated a lovely lady that she was very happy to support, and also decided to enrol herself on some mental health training. After further discussion, she has also decided to become a Rotherfed Connex volunteer, which is a massive step forward for her. We invited her to attend our TPAS presentation Award.
Milly was originally referred to us back in March. She has long standing Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder and has no confidence. Milly did not go out much previous to getting the friendship call, does not watch TV and just passes her time on her tablet. She has a 14 year old daughter that she only see on a Sunday. Milly is obese and is under a psychologist. Milly has been trying to lose weight to qualify for bariatric surgery. As she does not speak to anyone – except her professional team, she has built up a fantastic relationship with her volunteer – here are a couple of feedback from the volunteer outlining the conversations of the past two week.
Another positive chat with Milly. She talked at length about the work she is doing with her psychologist, and although she finds talking about some aspects of her past difficult she has continued to engage in the therapy and to complete the homework she sometimes is asked to do. We chatted about her diet and the target she needs to reach by the 28th of this month to ensure she will be accepted for bariatric surgery. Apart from the occasional setback she remains focused. Milly spoke about having some time out for herself today and had visited a store she likes in Sheffield and treated herself to a couple of items. She said this had lifted her mood. We chatted about the Covid vaccination programme and Milly is keen to have a booster. She talked about her daughter who is 14 years old and has recently had Covid, Milly is encouraging her to get vaccinated when she is able to do so. We talked about the area where Milly lives as I know it well and about local craft groups that Milly attends. Further contact arranged towards the end of next week
Brief chat with Milly today, she talked initially about her recent appointment with psychologist and then about the approaching appointment with a doctor in the Bariatric Service when a decision will be made re the surgery. Milly had managed to lose a little weight this past week but is still a couple of pounds off her target and is starting to worry about this. We talked about her coping strategies and about using the support available to her particularly if the outcome of her appointment with the Bariatric service is negative. Milly has requested I contact her next Thursday afternoon, the day after her appointment.
Tina is a young student who has been calling participant Mandy since December 2020 they have built up a real friendship over the months talking weekly without fail. Mandy has many health and social problems but never fails to have a weekly laugh with Tina. Tina in turn has helped and supported Mandy through many things, getting her assistance with pension applications and pointing her in the right direction for help. Tina has now departed for university but will stay in touch with Mandy to let her know how she is getting on (with Tina’s consent).
Mandy said “I loved my weekly chats with Tina, we had a laugh and Tina really helped by listening to my worries, I will miss her calls. I wish I could have adopted her!”
Friendship across the generations, no barriers. Mandy is now looking forward to her chats with a new volunteer and hopes to have the same sort of blooming friendship.
Roy has been volunteering for us for about 5 weeks but has quickly established 3 calls a week, which he commits to with enthusiasm and gusto! He loves the fact he is able to empathise from his own mental health situation with others and give companionship where needed.
Here are a few quotes –
“I really enjoyed my chat with Michael. We’re both sports nuts so we had loads to talk about. In football he’s Leeds United and I’m Barnsley so there was some very gentle ribbing both ways about that!”
“Smashing fella, he was on the phone for about 40 minutes and I barely got a word in! Joking aside, we had a really good chat about music and some of the gigs / concerts he went to when he was younger. Would love to speak to him again.”
“He got a bit upset at one point when we spoke about his family as he’s hardly seen his grandkids / great grandkids as he is effectively shielding due to COVID worries. We turned it around though and ended on a positive note.”
Sharon and I were on the phone for 51mins! We talked about the weather the state of the country and covid and how it’s affecting our lives in general. We talked about families and how she feels bereft about what has happened with her cousins since she moved north and their parents have died. They use to be really close but now nobody keeps in touch. She said all through her cancer treatment none of them contacted her, not even a card. The reason they use it is the distance even though they drive. I felt sad for her particularly when she said what really hurt was knowing that a cousin and her partner travelled to Leeds to visit his son and soon after her treatment she suggested they meet up in Leeds and her cousin refused. We ended the call on a happier note laughing and joking about an incident that had really made her laugh!
Katie, a 54 year old lady was a self-referral to the friendship calls. When she first made contact on 13th July, she was very tearful on the phone and extremely nervous. Katie is a victim of rape and domestic abuse, she had recently lost her father to cancer and was now dealing with the news that her mother was end of life with cancer as well. Although Katie informed that she is receiving counselling she admitted that it would take for her to come to terms with what has happened to her during the course of her life. She was very open and honest about the affect everything had had on her and how she was really struggling to cope. I asked her if she was getting any other support or help and she advised that she was not. It was decided that due to Katie been in an extremely vulnerable state, she would receive a call from Jane every Friday until one of our top volunteers was back off leave. This volunteer was chosen for Katie because of her expertise in this field and we strongly felt that Katie would get a lot of benefit from the support of this volunteer. In the interim, Katie was advised to contact her GP and request a referral to her GP’s link worker at social prescribing who would be able to assist her in moving forward. A direct link was also given to Katie to enable her to contact the link worker directly who would then ring her back. Katie has her first call with her new volunteer week commencing 26th July.
Susan came to us as a referral in February. Susan is a young Asian lady who had escaped a very abusive marriage. Susan was ostracised by her family and her community because of proceeding with ending the marriage. She lives on her own, does not go out and wishes to keep to herself, although she does work, she does this from home. Susan had suffered a tremendous amount of abuse and found it very hard to trust people.
She was paired with a volunteer and she has started to regain her confidence, and because of the continued friendship calls that have built up her confidence, she has now started studying again. She has now accepted counselling , which she previously refused. Susan now sees the counciling as the way forward for her to be able to deal with what has happened and she has been referred to an Asian counselling service that specialises in cases like Susan. She attributes her ability to move forward from the confidence she has obtained since receiving the friendship calls.
Leanne came to us in February from Social Prescribing. She suffers with multiple sclerosis and had refused any help. She was also caring for her poorly mum. Her mum recently passed away and Leanne was unable to attend the funeral as she had to isolate waiting for a hip operation. She has a high risk of falls but still drives. She was out and about one day and her leg froze and she had a small accident and because of this her hip operation was brought forward. Leanne was due to have her second Covid jab and as she was going into hospital she was not be able to attend the jab and was really panicked about it.
The volunteer, who also volunteers as a vaccine clinic got her booked in where she volunteers, arranged transport to get her there and volunteer and participant got to meet face to face and Leanne managed to get her second jab thanks to the extended work her volunteer. Leanne got her hip operation, and is home recovering well and has now also accepted that she needs some care.