Louise and Olive: friends for life
Here at the Civil Service Retirement Fellowship (CSRF), we put friendship first. Just ask Louise and Olive. Today, after many years of sharing calls and greeting cards, postcards and gifts, volunteer befriender Louise and retired civil servant Olive aren’t only friends – they’re more like family.
How did you get involved with the CSRF?
We have an initiative at the DWP called ‘Community 10,000’ where you have so many days a year to volunteer. It’s lovely that we’re so encouraged to help people in the community. I found out about the CSRF on there, and when the opportunity came up to talk to someone, I thought ‘well, they’re one of us’. It’s sort of like when you’re in the forces, you want to help older civil servants.
Why did you decide to volunteer?
I don’t know really. My kids were a bit older, I wanted to do something that’s not too taxing. I just thought being friendly isn’t work, is it? It’s not staring at a computer, it’s not hard. So I thought I’d give it a go.
How long have you been matched with Olive?
I think it’s been seven years now. I ring Olive on Sundays, or whenever suits us that week. I’ve also met her twice in London – we organised that off our own backs!
Why should civil servants support the CSRF charity?
I’d say to anyone reading this, it’s not just for the retired people, but for you too. It’s for the feel-good factor – the smile factor.