Providing companionship in the community

Giaksha came to Manchester from Sri Lanka to study Management.

She then started to get involved with volunteering with the elderly through the Levenshulme Good Neighbours befriending scheme.


My name is Giaksha and this is my Stellify story.

I am originally from Sri Lanka and I came to Manchester to study Management.

I have always been interested in volunteering especially with elderly people as I feel like they can often be socially neglected.

Once I arrived in Manchester I knew I wanted to continue volunteering with the elderly and so I found the Levenshulme Good Neighbours befriending scheme at the volunteering fair where I met Ray, who coordinates the project.

He spoke about the project where we spent a couple of hours with an elderly person offering them companionship to help eliminate loneliness. It was the perfect opportunity for me to help the cause which I care about.

I was paired with a gentleman called Camiro who is from Italy and used to be a chef. The first time I met Camiro I felt quite apprehensive and nervous but my nerves was soon gone as he welcomed me warmly and offered me a special cake and tea. He was genuinely excited to see me.

My experience at Manchester helped me to make friends who have become like my family and my time with Camiro has made us both feel so happy as he’s provided me with companionship as well.

It's made me go the extra mile and put myself out there and do something more for the community.

Moving forward, I’m taking a year off from my studies where I'll be going back to my home country in Sri Lanka for an internship but I'll also be continuing my volunteering. I'm hoping to come back to the UK to study for my master's in International Development.

It's been wonderful and so fulfilling and, as a whole, the journey has been indescribable.