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Therese's special connection with Sue

In Great Company client Therese Cooney might have family and friends, but she only has one volunteer visitor - and she appreciates her more than anything! Therese and Sue make a great team, and we loved to hear about their budding friendship which benefits both the volunteer and the client. We sat down with Therese to talk about her experience with In Great Company. 

Why did you decide to register for the In Great Company Volunteer Program?

I saw this program advertised in a brochure or flyer for services that might be of interest to someone like me. It described a special visit from someone to share activities like going out for coffee, having a chat, or playing card and board games. So, I thought, it could be nice to have someone to go out for a coffee and play games with - I would like a nice social visit time and again.

What did your weeks look like before you started the program? 

I had no one to do things with, I had one other friend, and my son, but we would mostly just go out for lunch and come back. I don’t have many female friends coming over at all, and with COVID it has just been really nice to sit by the beach with some pleasant female company.

Tell us a bit about your friendly volunteer.

My friendly volunteer visitor, Sue Ormiston, is so wonderful. We enjoy our conversation and it's two-way. I have made some other friends, but they talk a lot about themselves, and it is not always both ways. Sue tells me a lot about her earlier life living in Japan and England, but she listens as well. I just love her stories; she has travelled a lot and I like hearing about her experiences. She told her mother she was going to be away for 6 months, and she went away 5 years! I love hearing about her family and especially her girls. She is really good company and good fun. Next Wednesday, for instance, we may go to North Haven and have a coffee by the sea. Sometimes she goes out and gets our lunch which is really, really nice for me because it’s lovely to have someone to have lunch with. She is so understanding.

She helps me a great deal and if she sees I'm feeling a bit out of it, she will get up and make the tea. I don’t even have to ask, She just says, “You sit down, and I'll do that for you." It’s little things like that I appreciate the most.

Selfie of two older ladies in front of a red wall

Therese and Sue

How often do you meet?

We meet once per week when we are both free to do so as I might have appointments. If we have to cancel, then we just work it in together, and we work really well together.

What activities do you do together?

She has dropped me off for a few appointments. Sometimes she comes with me and drops me off and then goes into the Op shop next door. Then when I'm finished, we go Op shopping together. We enjoy playing games too, we play Backgammon and Rummikub. She teaches me games that I don’t know, and I teach her games that she doesn’t know and it’s great.

How has your life changed since meeting with your volunteer?

I now have someone to meet every week and I really look forward to Sue coming. This is something I hold truly special.

What are you most proud of? 

Being able to share everything with my volunteer visitor, she makes lovely cups of coffee. Having Sue here and just the fact that she is looking after me. She just seems to know when I need something. We also laugh a lot together as well as we have fun.

What would you like to achieve together in the future? 

I know that I can always call Sue a good friend and we talk about things.

What advice would you give to someone who is interested in the In Great Company Volunteer Program?

I think it’s a wonderful program and I think anyone will get a lot out of it. I am very lucky with Sue. As long as a senior person lets their volunteer know what they like and don’t like, they will get a lot out of their companionship. When you have family around, you sit around, catch up and talk, but it's not like having someone like Sue when you can just say, let’s go and do this or do that. Sometimes, I might say, can you pick something up for me on your way over, and that’s a great help. My family can just get really busy with their own families, so not always easy to ask them.

If you'd like to become a volunteer with In Great Company and make a senior's life less lonely, you can do so here.

Young man and senior man fishing

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