How I found volunteering as a Virtual Buddy

Andrew signed up to volunteer as a Virtual Buddy in 2020. He tells us about the connection he’s built with his buddy Chris.

The start of the pandemic in 2020 was a tough time for me and I knew there must be many other people out there who felt the same. So, when the email from Sense came to volunteer with people virtually, I signed myself up.

Little did I know at the time how valuable this connection would be for both Chris (my newly matched virtual buddy) and I.

A man stands side on. He has long brown hair and glasses. He's wearing a black t-shirt and his arm is stretched out. It's Andrew. / --
Andrew started volunteering as a Virtual Buddy

We got to know each other

For Chris, the best way to get in touch was over the phone so we arranged weekly phone calls. The Sense team had given me a bit of background information about him so, during those first few weeks, we were really just getting to know each other.

As we are of a similar age, both of us growing up in the 70s and 80s, we found we had a lot of generational commonalities to discuss. Soon, we found our conversations overrunning as we talked about increasing deep and complicated issues.

Chris would fill me in on North Korean history

There was a time when Chris was reading the Michael Palin book on North Korea. Every week, he would fill me in on its history and politics which I found fascinating as I didn’t know too much about the subject.

Many times, when we talk, Chris challenges me to rethink my views as he is very well informed on current affairs and actively follows world news sites.

It’s wonderful to have someone like Chris

None of my past experiences with Sense prepared me for the relationship I have developed with Chris. It is really wonderful to have someone to talk to that challenges me in the way that he does.

As the world felt its way through a pandemic, having our weekly calls is one of the things in my life that had remained constant.