Cindy (36) and William (71), were introduced through our Love Your Neighbour programme in spring this year. The pals exchanged over 30 calls before finally getting to meet face to face. Six months into their friendship we caught up with them to find out what's so special about their friendship.
What has been your favourite thing about being part of the Love Your Neighbour programme?
Cindy: I moved to Manchester in autumn 2020 knowing few people and was working from home. Covid restrictions made it difficult to get around to meet people and explore my surroundings- two very important things to me- which was getting me down. Love Your Neighbour has allowed me to see this normally vibrant city through William’s eyes, who has lived in it for almost 50 years and always has a delightful story or two to tell. This has been a unique opportunity to develop a friendship with someone I enjoy having a good debate or banter with and would unlikely to have met through my own social circles.
William: Having been isolated for so long (some before Covid) and not being able to meet friends and people in general. It has been such an awakening for me. Suddenly I am talking and meeting someone who can understand my points of view and making it easy to talk about what interests me, and I hope Cindy. Matching up two people is a most difficult job, but I would say we are interested in the same topics, well done! I hope you can continue to prescribe this medicine, as it does work.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of being part of the Love Your Neighbour programme?
Cindy: I find it rewarding to be part of a community of like-minded people from different backgrounds who want to be part of the solution in tackling social isolation. As lockdown eased, I have visited a fair few hidden gems as well as popular attractions in Manchester recommended by William. We have been out for a natter in cafés including one I believe serves the most beautiful cake ever. I work long hours in healthcare, and it’s been so refreshing to have William’s wisdom to set my priorities straight and remember to take time to do the things I enjoy; learning, connecting with people and having fun!
William: I was made aware of Manchester Cares some time before becoming part of it. I had my doubts about ‘meeting’ someone in this way especially when I would be talking about myself which I have only just ‘learnt’ to do. But when we started it was immediately obvious that I would talk openly about most things and this is the most rewarding aspect. That I am talking and enjoying it, even though it can be about me. The reward is that I am ready to be more open and prepared to talk to people without prejudging them.
How would you describe each other?
Cindy: William is loveable, with an incredibly dry sense of humour. He’s easy to talk to and enjoys a good debate. We both like being challenged in our ways of thinking and it’s helped us become good friends. We know we don’t have to agree, and he is always respectful of my thoughts and opinions, even when we’re talking about topics I know very little about. William is artistic, creative and likes writing almost as much as he likes to read. He is very proud of his family and it’s such a joy hearing him talk about them. I’m really pleased to have met William.
William: I did not know anything about the person I was to talk to on this project. Then we began to talk by phone and it was as though I had known Cindy for a long time. A description is difficult but I would start by saying that Cindy has a wonderful ability to get on with people. I am not easy to get on with but we talk and now meet resulting in me being in a happy mood. We seem to have quite a lot in common and Cindy can keep the interest going and of course a great sense of humour but also knows how to be serious. I could not have wished for someone so great at all the important aspects of being kind, understanding, interesting and just a really good person.
If you’d like to get to know one of your older neighbours and find out what you might have in common, you can sign up for our Love Your Neighbour programme here
Posted by Vicky Harrold on Wednesday 29th September 2021
Vicky is Manchester Cares' Programme Coordinator managing our Love Your Neighbour programme.