Sylvia joined RealLiving as a cafe member 18 months ago. She was introduced to the cafe by her friend Nan who is a RealLiving volunteer.

Nan thought attending the cafe might help Sylvia make some new friends and beat loneliness.

Sylvia loved the cafe straight away; she got involved with organised activities and was always keen to help out in the kitchen and serve cups of tea and coffee.

After a few weeks of helping out Sylvia began demonstrating her talents and sharing her ideas. She joined the cafe’s Knitting Group and took the lead in knitting blankets for a local charity and baby clothes for premature babies in the hospital.

A year into helping out at the cafe Sylvia decided she wanted to become a formal volunteer and a befriender; using her own experience to help others overcome isolation and loneliness.

It didn’t take long for Sylvia to be matched with her current befriender, Fay. From day one it was instant chemistry between the two. They now meet on a weekly basis for a catch up and a cup of tea, Sylvia even accompanies Fay for her weekly shop.

Fay used to love going into town on a bus, but since her friend and dedicated carer died five years ago she wasn’t able to go on her own due to mobility issues, but thanks to Sylvia’s befriending she is now back to her old self, doing what she enjoys.


I feel like I have part of my life back again, I've gained a good friend in Sylvia.

RealLiving service user Fay

Sylvia likes to be involved in all volunteering aspects of RealLiving. She recently offered to help set up and assist in the running of a knitting club, teaching children who visit the cafe how to knit - a lady of many talents and a valued volunteer.