This National Volunteering Week, we’re celebrating the contributions volunteers make in our communities. Carmel from ALONE, tells us her story.

Carmel from Meath has been volunteering as a Befriender with ALONE for the past 2 years. ALONE is a national organisation that supports and empowers older people to age happily and securely at home. ALONE’s Befriending service provides companionship and practical support to older people who would like extra social contact through a weekly volunteer visit.

“I joined because I spent 20 years with my mother-in-law. When she passed away I was at a loss for older company,” Carmel explains. “I love the boldness and past history of someone’s life. Through ALONE, I landed on my paws with my older person and his dog. He has many difficulties with hearing and mobility, but nothing wrong with speech and is constantly talking! He is a black-and-white movie buff, as I am.

“Loneliness is perhaps the world’s biggest killer. When a person has company, they get ready and look forward to your visit. My man writes down all that has happened since we saw each other last (he hadn’t written in years). I then listen to every minute detail. I’m no martyr, but I do visit twice a week as it’s en route from work.

“We have a gorgeous friendship. He sometimes can be grumpy, but then once the vent is over, it’s onwards – his mind is clear and he has voiced his anguish. I know I have made this man’s life better. ALONE gave me the tools, and I have gained an eccentric friend who I adore. This perhaps has been the best, all-round wonderful thing that I have done in my life. I have experienced much in my life, but for ALONE, I would not have had the opportunity to connect and develop this friendship.”

It’s National Volunteering Week. If you’d like to find out more about volunteering with ALONE, please visit

Thank you to Carmel for sharing her Volunteer Story. Please DM us or email [email protected] if you’d like to share yours! #MyVolunteerStory #CelebrateVolunteers #NVW2022

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