Duncan was one of 101 volunteers involved in the Marmalade Companions project.
And we're so thankful to each and every one of them for dedicating time each week, calling their assigned Marmalade Companion. Over a period of around 15 weeks, volunteers have enabled individuals to step out of loneliness and make meaningful, long-lasting connections in their local community.
Not only have members benefitted from the project but volunteers have too. 85% of our volunteers felt that the project had positive impacts for them.
This week, we've spoken with Duncan. He talks openly about his experience as a volunteer with the Marmalade Companions project...
“I was listening to an old radio podcast and heard about The Marmalade Trust. I googled it, thinking that the project was probably over as the podcast was from a while back. I emailed and was just in time to join the first Marmalade Companions project - it was meant to be!
For me, my volunteering experience has been very positive.
Ken, my member, is very talkative and gregarious (in a good way) - there have been no quiet or awkward moments. We found out we had a lot of similarities - for example, I grew up on air bases, and Ken was based on air bases in WW2, we’ve both played in brass bands, both have an interest in local history - plenty in common!
I’ve found it challenging sometimes to find suitable things to signpost him to, as so many things shut down during the covid pandemic and have not re-opened. I found him one course, but then it was cancelled. It can be hard finding things that are suitable for the member’s different abilities and interests!
I think I have helped with his confidence to find things out and make connections with organisations.
I had found out about one ukulele club, which is not running courses at the moment, but then Ken found out about another club which was open to all and had spaces. He’s also started going to an exercise class.
Being a Marmalade Companion has made me realise how easy it is to chat between different generations. All of my own grandparents have passed away, so I don’t have much contact with the older generations - it has been so nice! I think Ken and I have more in common and more in depth chats than I have with colleagues and friends of my own age.
What did I enjoy most? It’s just been so entertaining hearing his life story, he could write a 1000 page book and still not tell about all the highs and lows, successes and challenging times.
If you are thinking about becoming a Marmalade Companion go into it with an open mind and open ears!
Just take time, be patient, don’t rush it, you have plenty of time to get to know the member.”