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What a difference a friend makes...

Marmalade companionship case study

Margaret, aged 97 yrs old, lives in Bristol, she has no family and usually manages with support from her neighbour who is in his late 80s. Prior to the pandemic, they used to go for daily walks, to the cafe and food shopping together. Both were required to suddenly shield, therefore her companionship and shopping support stopped.

When we called her as lockdown began, she reported that she "only had one egg left to eat". We immediately provided urgent shopping supplies, and helped to set her up with an online shopping delivery which will now continue. She was matched with a 26-year-old volunteer companion called Mia. Mia has been calling weekly and having long chats, some have gone on for 2 hours! Mia visited Margaret and had a socially distanced afternoon tea with her in her garden.

In April, during one of her welfare calls, Margaret said her glasses had broken and she was unable to watch TV. We collected her glasses and took them to be mended, in the meantime we used some of our funds to send her a bunch of flowers to cheer her up. She has not seen anyone during the past 4 months other than her companion, shopping delivery driver and her neighbour from a distance. She told us “the long chats are lovely and make me feel much better – like someone is looking out for me”.

As part of this project, we have also sent 50 cards made by local primary school children, various 'Gifts of Joy' including jigsaw puzzles, wool, art materials, potted plants and bunches of flowers. We have partnered with Bristol Community Transport to deliver food items and also with the Children's Scrapstore in St Werburghs to provide art packs to help people keep occupied at home.

“Thank you so much for my lovely card from 6-year-old Issy and some lovely gifts to help keep me amused. I have spent a delightful morning 'colouring-in' with my new art materials, it’s been so relaxing. We are travelling through such difficult times but with such good people like yourselves, we will be able to come through this. Marmalade has brought joy into my life, I am so proud to know you. You are the Marmalade Angels and my heart and thanks go out to you.” - Jean, 84 yrs old.


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