My Sense Buddy made me happy during the pandemic

Rebecca volunteers as a Sense Buddy. Here’s how baking and cooking brought her and her buddy, Trisha-Mae, closer together during some tough times.

Buddy pair Rebecca and Trisha Mae smiling at the camera
Buddy pair Rebecca and Trisha Mae smiling at the camera

Trisha-Mae and I started Buddying just before the pandemic in January 2020. I had been looking for somewhere to a volunteer for a while. After a bit of searching, I came across Sense’s Buddying service. It ticked all of the boxes.

Sense’s Buddying service matches anyone with disabilities to a volunteer. You meet online once a week with someone who has shared interests, sense of humour and personality.

I learned about Trisha-Mae’s love of baking

As the news about Covid-19 started coming in thick and fast, we took a relaxing stroll to get to know each other. It wasn’t long before I found out about Trisha-Mae’s love of cooking and baking. I didn’t realise at the time, but as we all went into lockdown, that information would prove useful.

In March, the Buddying sessions became virtual – we did them over video call. It was a big adjustment and at first we spent time just talking. Then, Trisha-Mae mentioned her love of cooking again. We decided to try some cooking sessions.

We cooked everything from quesadillas to apple crumble

It wasn’t long until Trisha-Mae started taking the lead. She’d research recipes and talk me through them. We cooked everything from quesadillas to apple crumbles.

A picture of a screen. On the screen there are two squares. It's a video call. In one square, we can see a cake. In the other, a woman is taking a photo with her phone of the screen.
Trisha Mae shows her freshly baked cake to Rebecca on a Zoom call.

I didn’t have much experience of baking cakes but Trisha-Mae was really patient and helped me get my skills up. At the end of each session, we would have a competition to see who could wash up the fastest.

We gained each other’s trust

These cooking sessions were so important for both us during an incredibly difficult time. We would laugh and chat with one another. We gained each other’s trust, all through a screen.

Cooking and baking brought Trisha-Mae and I closer together. I bought her an apron with her name on it for Christmas to show my appreciation for all of the new recipes she’d taught me. Those moments in between pre-heating the oven and eating a slice of cake were some of the happiest I had during the pandemic. All thanks to my buddy, Trisha-Mae.

Feeling inspired or also craving some baking? Check out our delicious fundraising event Sensational Tea Party!