Volunteer of the week: Robin Liston

Association of Jewish Refugees


The north London journalist and public relations consultant has been a befriender at the Stanmore-based Association of Jewish Refugees for 10 years

● Why the AJR?

I saw an ad for the AJR in the Guardian. As my mother and grandparents were refugees from Germany I knew about the AJR and thought it would be a great volunteering opportunity.

● What does your current volunteering role involve?

I have been visiting an elderly Holocaust survivor for seven years. We talk about her day to day problems and sometimes she talks about her experiences in the concentration camp which she finds too painful to discuss with her family.

● What do you most enjoy about being a volunteer?

I enjoy creating relationships with the people I befriend and I am pleased to offer them companionship and help. It is good to know that the lady I visit enjoys me coming and we have developed a warm relationship. However, we both understand that there are boundaries that we must both recognise.

● What is your most memorable volunteering moment?

The first person I befriended was an agoraphobic man who was on the Kindertransport. He had not left his house for 30 years but after two years of visiting him, I finally managed to help him to leave his house for a short walk. It was a tremendous pleasure that I could motivate him to walk with me in the street.

    Last updated: 2:00pm, May 13 2010