Marjorie Hayward: The Chorley volunteer who began a befriending charity which for some is a real lifeline
Marjorie's story is the latest to be featured in our Chorley 150 series which is celebrating the community the Chorley Guardian is proud to be a part of.
That sense of community is one of the key facets that have made Chorley a great place during the 150 years of our newspaper's history.
There are many characters who epitomise that spirit.
A great example is Marjorie Hayward who has run Friends for You, a befriending charity, for the past six years.
Marjorie says: "Loneliness is an imprisonment in itself and if someone is giving up their time to visit you, that changes your sense of self-worth."
Offering visits once-a-week, Friends for You often takes people out for afternoon tea or, if they can't physically can't leave the house, takes afternoon tea to them.
Marjorie says: "Suddenly, they are in a position where their house isn't a prison.
"The friendships which are formed are very real."
The former health professional began the charity after coming home from her daughter's house one evening.
She recalls: "I was dreading going back and shutting that front door.
I thought ‘what about all the other people who can't get out and who are trapped at home?
"I had a real inner urge to reach out and try to help.
"That's how I decided to start Friends for You.
"It was really grassroots stuff but I went to the council and they offered me a meeting room and offered two members of staff who would support us.
"I got Lancashire Adult Learning involved in training volunteers."
Today Friends for You operates across Chorley, Leyland, Charnock Richard, Clayton Bridge, Eccleston, and Coppull.
Clients know the day and time their visitor comes and are able to look forward to those chats.
For some it can be a real lifeline.
Marjorie, 75, says: "The volunteers have hearts of gold and I'm bowled over by the difference we make.
"It's been as fulfilling as I expected it to be and more so."
This June training provider Lancashire Adult Learning (LAL) celebrated some of its volunteering star learners during Volunteers’ Week 2021.
Volunteering has especially come into focus over the last 12 months with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Across Lancashire, LAL recognised some of the star volunteers that tutors have supported through LAL’s range of volunteering courses, enabling learners to help out in their communities.
Marjorie said: “Lancashire Adult Learning's training forms three quarters of our course preparing our volunteers to become safe befrienders to lonely people.
“This means that Friends for You can reach out to the wider community in and around Chorley.
"GPs, Age UK, link workers, and Chorley Council can refer lonely people to Friends for You with confidence, knowing that we have properly, professionally trained befrienders to contact them.
“With the help of Lancashire Adult Learning, we have grown the number of volunteer befrienders we have at Friends for You from 40 to 110 since January 2020.
"This has helped us meet demand because the number of people we support has increased to 170 every week now from just over 50 previously.”
Rachel Holliday, 22, from Adlington, is one of those learners who took up a course with LAL and she has been supporting Friends For You.
She said: “I’ve been volunteering with Friends for You during the pandemic.
"It’s a great feeling knowing that you are helping somebody through a befriending service, and it has been good to get to know the people I have been supporting."
Chorley 150 countdown
The Chorley Guardian is featuring 150 stories about Chorley: Inspirational people, places that we love, or special moments in the life of the borough.
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