accessibility & help

Norfolk couple tell of how a volunteer's help made all the difference

24 April 2013

For immediate release  Wednesday 24 April, 2013
For further information Samantha Whitwham (
Contact number  0207 877 7463 or 07921 145095
The British Red Cross is looking for compassionate people from across North, South and West Norfolk with two hours or more to spare each month to volunteer for its new older people outreach service.

The service is free to people living in their own homes who need a bit of extra help. Trained Red Cross staff and volunteers make home visits to provide support and advice with things like accommodation problems, personal safety and security, managing financial and benefit claims and getting involved in social or community activities.

Trunch couple John and Mary Wilson, both in their seventies, have praised the Red Cross volunteer who supported them as part of the service.

Mary explained: “John is deaf and can’t see very well so he can sometimes feel isolated, and last year he started to become very depressed and withdrawn. I contacted the Red Cross and they sent a volunteer called James to see us.

“There wasn’t much to do in our village, but James spent time getting to know John and eventually found out that he was eligible to join the Royal British Legion. He got in touch with them for us and we were invited to go to their Christmas meal. We went along and it was absolutely lovely. It really gave John a boost and he’s not looked back since.

“All we wanted was to have somewhere to go, somebody to talk to, and somebody to help us if we needed it. I now feel that we have that, and all it took was for me to make one phone call to the British Red Cross. It all just spiralled from there.”

John added: “Being invited to the Christmas dinner for a show, some dinner and a little dance was very nice. It made me realise that there are more things to life other than sitting in an arm chair at home.

“We met a lot of people who were friendly and who wanted to talk to us, and listen to my stories. I didn’t realise that there were people like that around who would talk to me and make me feel welcome.

“Now I don’t feel isolated at all, not with those sorts of people around. I am very appreciative to the Red Cross because they made this possible.”

Marcia Solloway-Brown, North Norfolk team leader, said: “Our older people outreach service can be a real lifeline for vulnerable people in Norfolk. Many of our beneficiaries are elderly with no friends or family nearby, so our volunteers are there to help them through difficult times.

“We are only asking people to spare as little as a couple of hours a month, and the work is extremely rewarding – you could make a big difference to someone’s life in a short time. Our volunteers love being part of the Red Cross team and show incredible commitment and compassion. The more volunteers we have, the more local people we can help, so please do get in touch if you have some spare time and want to support your community.”

Volunteers are asked to be available for a minimum of two hours a month, which can be any time between 10am and 9pm, Monday to Sunday. They must have good communication skills, be able to work unsupervised, and should ideally have an understanding of the needs of people of different ages, physical needs and backgrounds. All volunteers will receive comprehensive training. A driving license is desirable, though not essential and all travel expenses will be reimbursed.

To find out more about volunteering with or using the Red Cross older people outreach service in North, South or West Norfolk, please contact Sarah Hurren on 01603 253410.


For more information on the British Red Cross please visit:

Notes to editors

The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies.

We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on with their lives.

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