Sammy joined the Marmalade Trust in November 2019 as a volunteer. Initially apprehensive about connecting with an older person, Sammy told us "it turned out to be one of the best things that ever happened to me". We matched Sammy with Marmalade Trust member Irene, who was experiencing long-term loneliness, and was finding living alone during the pandemic especially difficult.
Right from their first phone call, Sammy and Irene clicked instantly. Over the course of four years, they have formed a wonderful friendship. They celebrate birthdays with special meals, including Irene's first-ever birthday cake which Sammy made her, and enjoy pub lunches together. Meeting twice a month and with a weekly phone call every Wednesday, their connection has become a vital source of support.
While Irene expresses immense gratitude for being matched with Sammy, Sammy acknowledges that Irene has also been a lifeline during times of difficulty:
"Irene tells me every week she’s so grateful she got matched with me and it’s the best thing that’s happened to her, but the reality is, she has helped me through loneliness and a hard time when I was struggling with my mental health. She’s the also been the best thing that’s happened to me."
Through the Marmalade Trust, Sammy and Irene have found solace, friendship, and a profound sense of connection. Their story is a testament to the power of volunteering and the impact it can have on both the volunteer and the person they support.
Share your story during Loneliness Awareness Week
Whether you're feeling lonely now, or you've found ways to build meaningful connections into your life after feeling lonely, we'd love to hear from you. Stories like yours can get people talking, change attitudes, challenge stigma and help Marmalade Trust reach even more people. They can also inspire people to fundraise, volunteer and campaign for us.