FOR thousands of older people in our communities, being lonely is a stark reality of their everyday lives.
Astonishingly, some may go months without speaking to someone.
Many people who were concerned about me previously have remarked that since meeting Chris my personality has changed and I seem like my old self again – always laughingDavid Ord
We are asking you to sign up to two fantastic volunteer programmes in Portsmouth and beyond, and to give a special gift to someone who may not have any other presents to unwrap at Christmas.
David Ord’s story is one that proves how vital the Salvation Army’s Good Neighbours service is.
When he first began living alone, almost three years ago, his self-confidence dropped so much he could not leave his home.
He said: ‘I felt very lonely but had no self-confidence to go out. I used to watch DVDs, or listen to talking books and CDs. I found it worse at night. At times I had suicidal thoughts.
‘I decided to get in touch with the Good Neighbours project at the Salvation Army and I was introduced to Chris Williams who visited me regularly.
‘He would take me out to places like Baffins Pond where we would photograph wildlife, or just sit and talk with me. We would have a laugh and a joke, and we got on really well. He turned my whole life around.’
Mr Ord’s confidence has soared and he mixes with people more now than he ever did.
He added: ‘I am active and play music, recording it in studios and performing for people. Many people who were concerned about me previously have remarked that since meeting Chris my personality has changed and I seem like my old self again – always laughing.
‘He still visits me even now, bringing his photos in to show me and I really enjoy the time we spend together. I thank the Good Neighbours team for the difference they have made in my life.’
Mr Williams is a retired GP who found he was frustrated with all the time he had on his hands.
He visits six people a week and says he it has enriched his life as much as it has theirs.
Ros Fraser, the Good Neighbours manager, said: ‘Sadly David’s situation is now very common. Chris’s support has been instrumental in David’s recovery and his journey back to becoming an active member of the community again.
‘Good Neighbours provides company and support to isolated people.’