Valerie's Volunteering Story
Meet Valerie, one of our lovely volunteers at The Link, who has a passion for reducing loneliness and celebrating friendship in her community. We loved hearing why Valerie finds her volunteering role so meaningful.
What does your volunteer position look like at The Link Visiting Scheme?
Over the last five years, I’ve been part of a program that connects me with an elderly person in the community and I visit with them once a week.
I’m currently connected with a lovely gentleman. On a typical day, I’ll take him to the supermarket if he needs some shopping done, or we’ll go out for lunch. We often talk about sports and anything going on in the world. He’s very knowledgeable and stays on top of the latest news, so there’s always something interesting to chat about. I enjoy our time together just as much as he does—maybe even more!
How did you get introduced to The Link Visiting Scheme?
I lost my mum 12 years ago and my dad 10 years ago. They were both born in the twenties and they were of the generation that went into the Second World War. They lived through so much and they had great stories to tell. I loved spending time with them when they were alive, and over the years, I developed a deep passion for connecting with people in their age group.
I don’t think I’ll ever fully get over losing my parents—but I knew, in a way, that I had to move forward after they passed away. For a long time, it felt like something was missing in my life.
One day, a dear friend of mine told me all about The Link Visiting Scheme; she thought it would be a great fit for me, and she was right.
Are there any challenging things that come along with this role?
Working with people in this age group can be hard at times; some of the people I’ve spent time with have passed away, and it often feels like I’ve lost a family member of my own. Though there are difficult seasons, this volunteering program is incredibly meaningful and rewarding for me.
I attended and supported a special course about Cognitive Stimulation Therapy. This is a new therapy that helps people who are experiencing mild to moderate stages of dementia. Each day was a little different, and many of the attendees couldn’t retain or recall recent information, but I was amazed at how much they could remember from their pasts. They were so happy to share their stories and be in the company of those who would listen with open ears. I could write a book about some of the stories these people told.