Lucy Henn was recently shortlisted for the Time2Volunteer Awards 2023, for the Good Neighbour Volunteer Award, where she celebrated volunteers with many other people, and where we caught up with her about her story.

Lucy's Heartfelt Journey: Beyond Befriending, A Lifeline of Compassion

In the world of volunteering, a select few leave an indelible mark on the lives they touch. Lucy, a dedicated volunteer at Age UK Hull, embodies the spirit of selflessness and companionship. Her role as a home-visiting befriender is much more than a title; it's a lifeline of compassion for those she supports.

Lucy's befriending journey began a little over 10 months ago. Her mission was simple yet profound: to help combat the feelings of loneliness and isolation that often grip the elderly in our community.

Her dedication took her to Alan, a gentleman in his late nineties, who lived locally. Her visits, initially intended to be a weekly hour-long chat, quickly evolved into something far more significant.

She visited Alan at least once a week, providing an hour of quality time and support through meaningful conversations. On occasion, they shared a meal, like fish and chips, a cherished highlight for both her and Alan.

Volunteer Befriender Lucy sitting talking to Alan on his sofa at home

It's nice for others to be able to see how amazing Alan is… he really is a great man with incredible stories.

Lucy Henn, Volunteer, Age UK Hull

Importantly, Lucy acted as an extra pair of eyes, offering the family and his wife Jean, peace of mind that he was well-supported and engaged in vital conversations with someone from outside the family. This undivided attention, free from the constraints often imposed by caregivers and family members, was priceless.

Lucy's visits provided a vital opportunity for Alan to share his thoughts and feelings. Her empathy and genuine engagement made Alan feel valued and heard, helping him maintain his sense of self-worth and inclusion in society and his community.

Lucy became more than just a befriender to Alan. She was an essential pillar of support for him and his wife, Jean. Jean's advanced dementia and inability to communicate made her care particularly challenging. Lucy's compassion and support also extended to Jean. She assisted Jean with daily tasks and ensured her comfort, building a level of trust and affection that transcended words.

Thanks to Lucy and the support of their carers, Alan and his wife were able to remain together in their home during their later time together. Jean sadly passed away, and Alan has now moved to a care home in Leeds to be closer to his family.

Whilst this means that Alan is no longer supported by Age UK Hull or Lucy, we’re sure he will be building new connections.

But Lucy's befriending story didn’t end there. She decided to expand her circle of care. Lucy now dedicates her Friday lunchtimes from work to visit another lonely and isolated gentleman in her neighbourhood.

Our volunteers connect people with each other, forming friendships and making it a better world for them to live in. Thank you Lucy for your time, patience and compassion.

Libby Beadle, Befriending Co-ordinator, Age UK Hull

Lucy also volunteers for Age UK Hull events. At a Christmas Party organised for service users, her compassion and care were on full display. She served lunches, engaged with those attending alone or who had poor mobility, and made sure everyone received a Christmas hamper and got home safely.

At Time2Volunteer, we celebrate volunteers like Lucy, who embody the spirit of giving, empathy, and friendship. Lucy's journey is a testament to the incredible potential of volunteers to bring comfort and care to those who need it most.

There may well be a need for the same service in residential homes, such as Ivanhoe Residential Home in West Hull. We encourage you to reach out to HEY Smile Foundation’s Community Development Team on to explore volunteering in health and social care settings, where the need for companionship and genuine care is equally significant.

Just as Lucy has brightened and continues to brighten lives, we believe more volunteers can make a meaningful impact in the lives of the elderly in our communities. Together, we can create a network of compassion and support that reaches even more individuals in need.

Search for befriending volunteer opportunities here.

Funded and delivered by

Smile Foundation Hull CVS, community and voluntary services East Riding of Yorkshire Counsil Hull City Counsil
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