Meet Jazz and Joan from Lofthouse, West Yorkshire…

Jazz and Joan met three years ago when Jazz moved in next door. Despite the significant age difference, Jazz and Joan have built quite a friendship, even through the pandemic. This is a story of how, even in the most lonesome and uncertain times that the COVID-19 pandemic bestowed on us, small acts of kindness can lead to big community wins…

Joan lives alone, and Jazz helps her with small day-to-day things and bigger activities. At the start of the pandemic, house visits were banned, but that didn’t stop Jazz from helping Joan set up her TV through the window so that Joan could watch her television programmes.

“Even though I couldn’t physically go around at that time, I installed new channels for her TV from outside. Then I would call her to check in, and she’d let me know the latest programmes she’d been watching.” – Jazz

After the restrictions eased up, Jazz was then able to go around more to help Joan with food. In order to make nutritionally balanced meals easier, Jazz taught her how to use a slow cooker and bought Joan slow cooker bags so that she can lift them out of the pot easier than picking up the heavy pot alone. She will often help her out with shopping needs as well.

“It makes really nice meals without any bother, and I can put some in the freezer.”

“Joan is the life and soul of the party! She is my best friend, and I actually enjoy spending more time with her than most people my own age.”

Jazz set up a smart device which helps Joan get information, play music, control lights, check the news and set medication reminders, all just by using her voice! The impact this has had on Joan’s mental health has been significant.

“It certainly cheers me up, stops me from being moody and helps me to think about different things. She’ll come and chat with me and makes me laugh.” – Joan

Remember, being a Winter Friend doesn’t always have to mean spending money. It can be the small things like popping over for a chat or taking a pet around to keep someone company…

“I take my little dog around to see Joan so that she’s got some company for a short while. They tend to spend a couple of hours per week together whilst I’m working, which Joan really enjoys. She always loved having dogs but isn’t able to own one now, so I’m glad she can still have that relationship without the responsibility.” – Jazz

“Whilst I’m helping her in the kitchen, she tells me all about her life and her best years from when she was younger.” – Jazz

In the winter, Jazz makes her a warm drink in a flask because Joan struggles to lift the kettle up.

“It really helps because I find putting the kettle on hard, and I don’t have to do it now, I’ve always got a drink with me when I need it.”

Some other examples of things Jazz does for Joan include: searching for support for her online, making sure she is comfortable with the correct aids, and going shopping with her.

“Having a Winter Friend in the winter months improves my quality of life a lot, I’ve got someone to talk to when I wouldn’t have. It’s just made things 100 times better.” – Joan

Getting to know your neighbours in the winter months and seeing what they can benefit from and how to support each other can make a world of difference.

“It’s really a two-way relationship. It’s not just me helping Joan. She also brings a lot of happiness into my life. I adore her so much.” – Jazz

If you are inspired by this story – sign up to become a Winter Friend here!

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