My name is Min, I’m 89 this year and I live in sheltered accommodation in North Shields in the North East of England.
I’ve been coming to the Voluntary Organisations Development Agency’s (VODA) Good Neighbour Shopping Scheme for several months now, ever since my warden noticed how much trouble I was having with my shopping.
I have osteoarthritis and have had two hip and two knee replacements. I also have asthma which can leave me breathless. I don’t have any family close by – I sadly lost my husband and two sons – and I simply can’t go out on my own any more.
My Warden got in touch with VODA – he knew about the Good Neighbours scheme and set everything up for me.
How the scheme helps me
A volunteer picks me up on Tuesday mornings and takes me to the supermarket.
I bring my shopping list and they take me around the store, reaching the shelves I can’t reach, getting all the heavy items and packing my bags. It’s such a help. But the bit I enjoy most is that we meet up with all the other Good Neighbours volunteers and shoppers for a cup of tea and a chat at the end.
Everyone is really friendly and we have a good laugh. I’d hardly see anyone if it wasn’t for this!
I think it’s amazing that the volunteers give up their time to help people like me. David, who I was first matched with, was such a great support, he not only helped with my shopping but he’d make sure everything was put away for me at home and even did some odd jobs in the house that I couldn’t manage.
But everyone is lovely – I’ve made some great friends here and I’ve even started arranging to go for a coffee with one of the other volunteers here, something I wouldn’t have done if it wasn’t for Good Neighbours.
I couldn’t come a couple of weeks ago due to ill health but when I came back everyone was really concerned about me and asking me how I was – that was a lovely feeling. I really look forward to Tuesdays now and don’t know where I’d be without the Good Neighbours.