Marilyn's Story

Marilyn's Story of Volunteering with Touchstones in Harrogate:

Marilyn* joined Touchstones having seen an advertisement for volunteers in the Harrogate Advertiser and approached Rural Action Yorkshire directly where she spoke to Joanna Bayton Smith who forwarded her details on to Wendy, the local co-ordinator.

Marilyn is a widow, having lost her husband 14 years ago. She worked until the age of 71 and, having retired two years ago, felt she wanted to give something back to the community. As well as supporting her two sons, a daughter and three grandchildren, all of whom live nearby, she wanted to feel useful and wanted the opportunity to make new friends.

Marilyn feels more comfortable “in the background” helping out rather than  being “up front”. She has really enjoyed making new friends and meeting people. She now meets up with her new friends independently outside of Touchstones sessions. She also attends the Age UK North Yorkshire lunch group on a monthly basis as a client. She has also enjoyed working with one of our younger volunteers and mixing with younger people.

Moving forward, Marilyn is keen to support clients with 1:1 work in the Harrogate area, possibly with cooking skills, but she also has sewing skills that she would like to share. As she is a widow, she has a good understanding of bereavement, so understands what the Touchstones clients are going through. She feels that it is very important for the clients to have someone to talk to, a friend or someone they are close to. She is keen to continue with “Touchstones 2” when funding ends and to continue with her other volunteering roles with Age UK.

The benefits of volunteering for Marilyn have been an increase in her confidence and feeling more relaxed in talking with different people in the group. She has valued her new friendships within the Touchstones group, with Age UK staff, other volunteers and the clients, especially with one particular volunteer with whom she meets up and has days out on a regular basis.

*Names have been changed in this article to protect client anonymity.