My daughter gained a new best friend during lockdown, thanks to Sense

The Sense Virtual Buddying programme has been a godsend to me and my daughter, Olivia, who is supported by Sense.

It introduced us to Bethany, a volunteer who immediately connected with Olivia. Sometimes, I wonder whether it was fate that brought these two together, instead of Sense!

Olivia and her mum, Sam,  holding hands and sitting close together on a corner bench in a brick building.
Olivia and her mum, Sam, sat close together.

We have known Bethany for a year now, and I just don’t know what we would have done during the strange times in the depths of lockdown without her.

Olivia loves Bethany to pieces and says they’re best friends. Olivia is non-verbal and uses Makaton and a communication book to communicate with us. But this hasn’t stopped them bonding or having lots of fun. Although at first, I helped Bethany and Olivia with things to do in their sessions, Bethany soon started to bring all sorts of creative ideas to their weekly sessions.

It was great watching the girls learn new skills together, such as smell experiments, sink and float experiments, making a candle, making bath bombs, decorating a mug and more. Olivia did really well in these activities. Bethany was so proud of her for getting six out of six smells in the smelling experiment that she sent her a certificate. 

Olivia really relies on Bethany’s sessions, especially during the summer holidays, because they became her new norm. We have so much fun in our sessions and an hour doesn’t seem long enough sometimes. We both think that Bethany is amazing, and it’s all thanks to Sense.

This year, Bethany has been nominated for the Volunteer of the Year category in the Sense Awards. It couldn’t be more deserved, and we’ll be rooting for her on 25 November at 6pm on Sense’s YouTube channel. 

Find a volunteer Buddy

Our Virtual Buddying service is free for anyone with disabilities looking for a friend in the UK.