IHC Volunteer Programme gives new purpose and meaningful friendships

Alasdair’s long relationship with IHC has resulted in a strong friendship and a new purpose in his life.

He began his relationship with IHC when he was working on a dairy farm. “In the past, I had always supplied calves to the IHC Calf and Rural Scheme. I really enjoyed making the contribution,” says Alasdair.

Unfortunately, at the end of 2015, Alasdair’s time as a farm manager came to an end when he was diagnosed with a non-cancerous, inoperable tumour. His health challenges and inability to work had a significant effect on Alasdair’s mental health, something which motivated him to become a volunteer. “Becoming a volunteer gave me a reason to get up and get out of the house. It’s something I would really miss if I didn’t have it in my life.”

After joining the IHC Volunteer Programme, Alasdair was first introduced to Mark who he shared a great sense of camaraderie and friendship with. Sadly, Mark died unexpectedly a year and a half ago.

Once Alasdair was ready, he sat down with IHC’s Ashburton Volunteer Coordinator, Belinda. “After six months, once I had grieved, Belinda sat down with me and we discussed introducing me to a new friend.”

After spending some time to find the right fit, Alasdair remembered a man named William who he had met through Mark, “I wondered, what’s William doing?” William just so happened to also be keen to make a new friend.

With a similar sense of humour and relaxed approach to life, Alasdair and William hit it off immediately.

Alasdair and William often go to Alasdair’s friend’s farm, something William really enjoys, “I like to go help him on the farm and feed the lambs or calves.” While there, the pair also get involved in projects and recently upcycled some old pallets into planters.

When they aren’t out on the farm, you’ll find the pair hunting for bargains at Bunnings, watching a film, or spending time around the home with Henry, Mark’s cat who Alasdair adopted shortly after his passing. Alasdair says, “William knew Henry very well so he always enjoys seeing her and giving her a pat.”

The pair look forward to continuing their friendship and having plenty of laughs along the way. Alasdair says, “I get so much out of my friendship with William. It’s as much for me as it is for him.”