“SOMETIMES when I woke up in the morning it was hard to think of a good reason to keep on living.”
These are the words of a pensioner who has since benefited from a Good Neighbours volunteer project.
In just a year since the Kirklees Good Neighbours scheme launched 29 kind-hearted volunteers have been putting smiles on the faces of pensioners, people living alone or those with health problems.
The project was introduced to help tackle loneliness and social isolation, with the volunteers befriending those in need.
Two of the users, Dorothy and John, are visited by volunteer Richard.
Both say it has made a big difference to their lives.
Dorothy, aged 73, has a heart condition which meant she struggled to take her dog Jack for a walk.
She said: “I got so frustrated and really depressed especially when it came to not even being able to take my Jack out for a walk. Sometimes when I woke up in the morning it was hard to think of a good reason to keep on living.
“Richard’s been visiting me since February and the difference it’s made to me has been wonderful. It’s having the adult company. I can talk to Richard about anything – and now my Jack gets a lovely walk each week.”
John, 54, was diagnosed with a neurological condition and struggled to cope with it.
He said: “When I came out of hospital last year I was as low down as I could be. It was really hard to come to terms with my illness and to cope with the uncertainty of how things would be for me in the future.
“Having Richard come and visit me and to be able to get out and about and do the things I want to has made the world of difference.
“I feel like I’m back and alive again.”
Their volunteer friend Richard, 55, began visiting Dorothy and John after he retired.
He says it is good fun, adding: “I love chatting to people, so volunteering gives me the opportunity to do just that. For me it was important to fill up my time doing something worthwhile.”
Project manager Julie Patel said the volunteers had made a big difference to the lives of the people using the service.
She said: “It has been an excellent year and with the help and support of our partners and volunteers we have really got off to a flying start.”
To celebrate the project’s first birthday organisers are holding an afternoon tea for users, volunteers and anyone wanting to find out more about becoming a volunteer.
It will be in the Reception Room at Huddersfield Town Hall on Thursday from 1pm.