This case study is written by Diane Matheson, who is our Senior Development Coordinator in Cardiff and works on our project ‘Welcome Friends’. She recently helped one of their oldest members, Mary Austin, celebrate her 90th Birthday!

‘When I first visited Mary three years ago, she was very depressed after the death of her husband, and a serious hip operation had left her unable to get out of the house. She is also partially-sighted and had lost all confidence in being with other people, and was feeling lonely and isolated.

I introduced her to one of our volunteers Lorna, who started visiting her at home, and in time brought her to our group. She has become a different person! Not only is she confident in going to the shops on her own, but she also attends our lunch club.

Mary celebrated her 90th on a cruise with her son, but when she got back she came to our Monday social and craft group, returning with tales of Canaries voyage and looking very sprightly considering her age! I had arranged a little celebration for her, with cakes and a card signed by all her friends at the group in Pontyclun. We sang Happy Birthday and she made a little speech, where she thanked us and her volunteer, Lorna, who has supported her so much over the three years she has been with us.’

In Mary’s words “Welcome Friends has saved my life. I am looking forward to celebrating my 100th birthday here with all my friends!”