Being a Living Well volunteer has given Judy Eades not only a renewed zest for life, but also an abundance of knitted jumpers and scarves.
Judy and her friend Jenny Oke run a knit and natter group at the Age UK day centre in Crantock Road, Newquay where, once a fortnight, people come together to have a gossip with their friends over balls of wool.
Judy is one of 16 volunteers who have supported people through the Newquay Pathfinder.
She said: “My background is in adult social care and after I retired I knew I wanted to help older people. When you go into someone’s home they are more at ease and you can break that barrier to help them and bring a little bit of laughter back into their life. We get to know people and do things that enhance their life; we never tell them what to do.
“I’m a friend; I’m not a district nurse and I don’t work for the council, but I do pass on information to my coordinator is there is a chance that someone’s health or wellbeing may be at risk, that’s the good thing about integrated working, we all have the same goal.”
The Newquay Pathfinder was the brain child of Judy’s daughter Lucy Clement, a District Nurse Manager, who works at Newquay Hospital.
“I am so proud of what she has achieved; it’s helped so many people,” Judy beams. “The more I heard about it, the more I knew I wanted to volunteer and to be involved.
“Carers and nurses are so busy, they have so many people who they need to look after, but we have got so much more time. We can do things that help make people’s lives so much more interesting and bring a little bit of joy back to their life.”
It’s not just the people Judy supports who are benefiting from Living Well; she says it has made a difference to her life.
“It’s engaged me back in my life. It’s a wonderful thing; it’s fun, I’ve met new friends and I’ve started living my life again by being a volunteer.”
The knit and natter was born after a conversation Judy had with a woman she was supporting.
“I asked her what did she like to do and she said knit,” Judy explains. “I used to visit her home and we’d talk and knit. It’s changed her life and I thought that more people would want to have somewhere where they could meet other people, talk and do something fun that keeps them alert. We heard that Age UK had a spare room at the day centre and decided to run a fortnightly session there. It started with about six to eight people, and it’s just gone from strength to strength.”
Judy is now on a mission to get Prince Charles – who she met at Clarence House in January – to learn more about Living Well at one of the knitting days.
She said: “He was very interested in Living Well and what we were doing in Newquay. I’d love to see Prince Charles at one of the knit and natters and seeing for himself how much Living Well means to people.”
The Knit and Natter Club meets once a fortnight at the Age UK day centre in Crantock Street, Newquay. Please call 01637 876 150 for more details.