J is 82 and was married to his beloved Olive for 60 years, the last five of those precious years saw J as a fulltime carer 24/7 seven days a week.

J had worked on the oil rigs in Aberdeen and had some truly amazing and equally terrifying stories to share about life in the North Sea. Although he tried to keep this quiet, he eventually shared with the Coordinator that he had also been doing the gardening and shopping for a neighbour who is 90.

J has some health challenges of his own to contend with, but he never lets on he is a truly extraordinary man who despite all the setbacks and upset of the past few years wants to ‘give something back’ to the community.

J referred himself to Community Plus. He has spent so much of the last five years as a full-time carer he has forgotten about himself and was getting more isolated and that combined with his own health concerns and his acute sense of grief at the loss of his wife, left him vulnerable. Although he has family close by, he was losing weight and getting quite anxious and lacking motivation which could have led to hospitalisation and input from other agencies.

What we did

J wanted to find an activity that used both his hands and his brain. We shared some ideas and looked for something that was close to home – something JN could access easily by train as he lives close to the local station.

We talked. J appreciated the conversation and it made him feel valued.

Nick Ledgard, Community Coordinator regularly walked past the ‘West Riding Stone Carving Association’ in Shaw Lodge Mill in Halifax, and thought this would be a perfect fit for J. It was mentioned to him at the next meeting and he was thrilled at the idea. Nick put J in touch with Helen at the Stone Carving Association and J signed up immediately to 6 sessions.

Nick also mentioned how he believed J would be a wonderful Befriender for the YCC, so passed on his details and he has been accepted as a Befriender and is coming along to join in at the Volunteer Info Day at Batley Library in September

What difference has support made – change to Carving a way to happiness

J was always a ‘doer’ he is now after years of selfless caring for his wife, doing something for himself. He has made friends at the Stone Carving Association and attended a festival at Halifax Minister where 100s of stone carvers from across the world came to share stories and latest developments. J is waiting to be assigned his first Befriending role and is so looking forward to continuing his support for others across the community.

He now proudly wears a T Shirt he bought from the West Riding Stone Carving Association. He has made friends and has company. Through his stone carving he is now much more active and less isolated and vulnerable and often spends several hours a day pursuing his new hobby. His daughter says he is a changed man. You can see that in his smile. Now when he talks about his wife it is with joy not sadness and the sense of loss has become happy memories shared with his new friends.

J’s health is improving and although he has a serious health condition it is no longer stopping from him being active.

J told Nick that is ‘Due to a new life that has opened up for him’ that he thought he would never get back’.