Looking Back on a Year of Making Connections
Space Age Connections is a service that operates within the South West of Edinburgh for people who are living with mild dementia or cognitive impairment, and who may be at risk of loneliness and isolation. Volunteers (known as ‘Connectors’) are matched with a service member (referred to as a ‘Buddy’) and meet with them for a scheduled visit each week for companionship and conversation. They may also provide help to do any of the things that their Buddy loves to do, whether that’s simply having a natter over a cup of tea, heading out for a walk, or a trip for coffee and a cake at their local café.
“I’ve been a volunteer for a year, and I have loved it. I’ve built up a very lovely relationship and have enjoyed spending quality time with my buddy. I wish I had done it sooner”.
Last week marked a year since the very first match was formed for Space Age Connections! The team were delighted to celebrate the occasion by taking the amazing volunteers out for a meal at Kingsknowe Golf Club as a way of saying thank you. In the last 12 months, our volunteers have provided an incredible over 400 hours of companionship to their buddies. That is 400 hours filled with conversation, laughter, and friendship for people who might otherwise be facing significant levels of isolation. Space Age Connections would not be possible without the incredible volunteer Connectors that support the service!
“I love visiting my Buddy every week. We have the most wonderful chats about life, it’s so rewarding knowing you are making that difference to someone’s life and who I now call my lovely friend! It’s such a wonderful thing to do, you’ll not regret it!”
Sadly, the celebration also marked a time to say farewell to one of our original Connectors, Alex. We cannot thank Alex enough for the time that she has dedicated to Space Age Connections. A whole year of fun visits, chats over cups of tea, visits to the shops, and most importantly – a beautiful friendship made.
The benefits of supporting a person with a cognitive impairment are not felt by the Buddies alone – our volunteers also gain a lot through the connections they make. One of our volunteers recently told us, “Since becoming a buddy, I have gained a friend for life. Being a mum can be challenging and sometimes lonely, so I and my buddy both benefit from our weekly walks together. We have lots of nice adventures and sometimes it even involves tea and cake! We have great conversations and enjoy the great outdoors. Last week my buddy told me that it is a pleasure to be my friend which warmed the cockles of the heart. Sometimes it feels impossible to change the world we live in, but you can change someone’s whole world.”
It can be incredible how something that may seem so small – simply popping round for a quick chat – can have such an impact on two peoples’ lives. We have a number of people currently on our waitlist that are looking for someone to help support them. Do you have as little as one hour to spare each week to help someone facing social isolation? Can you help make the difference? Please get in touch with us on 0131 455 7731 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how.