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Everybody needs a Glenys

3rd November 2020

Glenys Ford Community Support Befriender photo Helpforce award v1

Submitted by Jenny England, Lancashire Volunteer Partnership

Glenys Ford is an amazing Community Support Befriending volunteer and has been volunteering for Lancashire Volunteer Partnership, the one-stop shop for public service volunteering in Lancashire, for many years. She deserves to get a 'big thank you' and be on the Wall of Fame as a Helpforce hero, as she has gone above and beyond in her volunteering community befriender role, supporting isolated and vulnerable people in West Lancashire for many years.

Over six years ago, Glenys was matched with Jim Stevens who suffered from dementia, and for several years, stayed with him in his home once a week while Bal, his wife and carer, had some much-appreciated respite time. Glenys was a calming presence for Jim. He never got upset or angry when she was around. She had something special about her that reassured him, calmed him and made him feel at peace. Glenys has also supported Bal through cancer. When Bal was diagnosed with breast cancer, Glenys gave her lifts to dozens of appointments. A talented baker, Glenys made a birthday cake for them every year.

Sadly, Jim passed away. Glenys supported his wife through her grief, even helping to make funeral arrangements and was there by her side on the day of the funeral. Glenys has been her rock since losing her husband and continues to support her twice a week as a Telephone Befriender while Coronavirus prevents them meeting face-to-face.

Originally from Brazil and a native Portuguese speaker, English is Bal's second language so sometimes she lacks confidence socially. Glenys is supporting Bal's growing confidence by developing her independence and making links in her area. Before lockdown, Bal had been going to the local community centre on her own and was starting to build up a social network of people around her.

Despite the massive upheaval Bal has been through losing her husband and then feeling isolated in lockdown, thanks to her 'lifeline' of Glenys, she has made fantastic progress and has even discussed the possibility of becoming a volunteer herself. Wouldn't that be an amazing and heart-warming story of how her volunteer Glenys has changed her life; inspiring and empowering more volunteering in West Lancashire.

Since lockdown in March 2020, Glenys has had to adjust from her usual face-to-face role in the community and do her befriending remotely by telephone. This hasn't slowed Glenys down one bit. Since Covid, she supports five lonely, vulnerable or isolated people every week..

Everybody needs a Glenys. This lady is a truly selfless person, dedicated to making people’s lives that little bit better when they can be in the darkest place.