Volunteer Week – “You are a best friend to me”

3rd June 2015

This week, volunteers across the country will be celebrated as National Volunteers week commences.

Eddie - CE Mind
Eddie visited Larry every Monday and Friday

Managed by Cumbria Community Foundation, the Neighbourhood Care Independence Programme (NCIP) is reliant on the hard work and commitment of its volunteers.

Eddie Farren volunteers for Carlisle and Eden Mind as part of the NCIP befriending service. For almost four months Eddie met with a service user Larry, before Larry’s death earlier this year.

Eddie said: “I only knew Larry for less than a year. I met with him every Monday and Friday and he shared his memories with me. Together we researched his family tree and discovered information he didn’t know.”

“I recall a conversation we had about friendship one day when Larry was feeling particularly fed up. I told him about my best friend and that he never lets me down. I was caught off guard by Larry’s answer, he looked at me and said: You are a best friend to me.

“This friendship was clearly not one sided. Larry was every bit as concerned about me, as I was about him and that’s the beauty of volunteering – not only can you make a difference to someone else, they can make a difference to you!

“In the future, when I walk past an elderly gentlemen like Larry in the street, I will think to myself – there goes a friend I haven’t met yet.”

The Neighbourhood Care Independence Programme is funded by Cumbria County Council and the money is distributed through, Managed Service Provider, Cumbria Community Foundation.

Volunteering roles range from befrienders like Eddie to receptionists, drivers, handymen, carers and ICT support advisers.

To find out more about volunteering in Carlisle or Eden call the NCI Helpline on 0844 967 1885 or email info@ncip.org.uk.