Kerry and her two children moved into her home in a quiet Bedfordshire village in November 2020. They’d recently moved from a women’s refuge with nothing and were being supported by Katy in our Wellbeing & Support team.

Living next door to Kerry at this time was David, 73, who had several health issues.

Kerry said: “David would have a friend do his shopping for him and carers would come in daily to help with his medication. At first I was a bit scared of David’s dog, a German Shepherd, so I’d sit outside his open window and chat with him over a cup of tea.

“Over time, I started to think that the carers weren’t spending as much time with David as they could be and, after a while, I began making David his dinner, then it progressed to three meals a day.

“I’d given him my mobile number in case he ever needed it, but told him he could always bang on the wall if he needed me.

“One night, we heard loud banging. I rushed next door to find David on the floor and there was blood everywhere. I called an ambulance and waited with him for it to arrive.”

Even though David’s carers were still coming to see him, Kerry realised she’d become his main carer. She would take him to the shops, so he could choose his own food and clothes, and to hospital appointments.

“I was performing David’s daily blood glucose tests and liaising with his diabetic nurse. I knew he needed more care than he was getting at home, but he didn’t need to go into a care home.

“David wasn’t engaging with Grand Union about his tenancy or any repairs, so I’d try to ring on his behalf, but in order to discuss anything with me, David had to complete an ‘authority to discuss form’. When David authorised this, Katy said she was astounded that I’d built up such a rapport with him.

“Katy had mentioned that Grand Union’s Extra Care scheme, Quince Court in Sandy, had been refurbished and extended and suggested that this might be David’s best option to still live independently, but with a level of support tailored for him.

“I had a chat with David, explaining that he had become quite a lot of work and that he needed a level of care that I just couldn’t provide. He was really upset as he thought I wouldn’t visit him.

“I suggested we go and have a look round Quince Court. He agreed – and he loved it.”

David takes up the story: “I originally had no intention of moving; I’d lived in my house for over 70 years, taking on the tenancy after my dad passed away. I was happy there, living with my dog, Benji.

“Benji was a loyal friend to me. When I used to come home from dialysis he would be at my front window, front paws on the window sill, barking.

“But Benji became ill and the vet said it would cost a lot of money to operate and couldn’t guarantee it would be successful. He said it would be kinder to let Benji be put to sleep. I was so sad.

“Kerry brought me to look round Quince Court and I quite liked the idea of having my own little flat. I signed up and moved in at Christmas 2021.

“In the afternoons, on the days when I’m not having dialysis, I go to the communal lounge to chat to other residents, and on Fridays we have the lunch club.

“Kerry was a very good neighbour to me. She used to cook some lovely lunches and dinners for me, and do odd jobs.

“She pops in when she’s over this way; it’s lovely to see her.”

Kerry continues: “Once David had moved out, I had so much time on my hands. Katy kept saying to me ‘you should come and work for us!’ because she knew how much help I’d been to David.

“I hadn’t worked for 11 years, I just didn’t feel I had the confidence to go out there and get a job.

“But Katy said I was a natural and that she’d write me a reference if I wanted to apply for a job. She said my character and personality shone through as well as how much I helped people.

“A role came up at Grand Union, working for the Life24 team. Katy thought I’d be perfect for the job, so I applied.

“I was so shocked when the call came, offering me the job!

“Katy doesn’t realise how much she’s saved my life, by believing in me. It’s so nice to be working; so much so I don’t even like having time off!

“Everyone at Grand Union is so friendly and welcoming. Now I feel happy and fulfilled.”