Nicola – Age 53

“What I love about Brighton is that anything goes. Don’t put yourself in a box, just go out and grab what you can, however you can and enjoy it. Ignore the gadgets and go for walks, enjoy what’s around you and take time for people. What you give out, you get back.”

I’m a volunteer for EA – Elder Abuse. You become a befriender and go to someone’s house and take them out. I’m just in the process of doing it – I haven’t got anyone yet but I’m doing a bit of training.

I’m a volunteer for EA – Elder Abuse. You become a befriender and go to someone’s house and take them out. I’m just in the process of doing it – I haven’t got anyone yet but I’m doing a bit of training.

What I like about volunteering is giving something back, helping people. It makes me feel good that I can spend a few hours a week and it makes such a difference to someone’s life. My friend said to me the other week, someone helped them with a lift, a volunteer service. To that person it was nothing but to the person it was meant for, it meant so much. That’s what I want to do. I want it to mean so much to the person I’m doing it for. Not for me, but if I get anything out of it, that’s just a bonus.

What I like about Brighton is that anything goes. Where you find love irrelevant, as long as you find love with a dog, cat, another human being! That’s how I feel about life – don’t put ourselves in boxes and wait for that perfect Mr/Mrs, cat, dog. Just go out and grab what you can, however you can, and enjoy it.

If I were to give advice to a young person starting out in life, I would say ‘Take the time for the people around you. Ignore the gadgets etc. Take the time to go for walks, enjoy the people, enjoy what’s around you. What you give out, you get back. Give nothing out, get nothing back.’

There’s so much to do in Brighton and loads of it is free. So reach out and grab it. I’ve got loads of friends from doing cookery courses. I do so many courses. I’ve met so many friends. Reach out and grab it. In my hour of need, I was helped. This is why I became a volunteer, because I wanted to give something back. My husband was very ill at the end, and there was much help, and now I want to do that for someone else. Being through something like that yourself makes you more understanding.

I decided to take up volunteering because I didn’t want to work in a shop. I’m not knocking anyone who works in a shop, that’s great for them. I wanted to go to someone’s house and take them out, get them integrated, because that would mean more to them. I like getting out. I don’t want to be hedged in anywhere. I like going out, doing stuff, getting out and about –  that’s just me all over. I like doing training courses and I’m just lapping it up. I’m just loving it, I really am.

The library have a service – you go and register for it, then you go to the person’s house and ask them what books they want, get the books, take the books to them. It’s only half an hour a week. You have a cup of tea with them. Every week, that gives them something to look forward to. What is half an hour to enhance someone’s life?