Anneka Wilkins discovered there was more to life than work when she started volunteering during the pandemic.

The 46-year-old mum of two, who has been visiting and doing shopping for an elderly woman after joining a scheme that pairs volunteers with people who need support.

Anneka, from Royal Wootton Bassett said: “I really recommend it, it makes life more worthwhile than just doing my job. It’s not just about getting her shopping or prescription but to know someone cares.

“I want to continue this regardless of Covid. It’s given me the chance to totally re-evaluate my life."

She explained: " “It’s been really strange as I’ve always been Mrs Career, but I was put on furlough and I lost my job. I never had time to volunteer before then."

She helps 86-year-old Sheila by getting her prescription, taking her post and delivering shopping. “She lives on her own. She does have a supportive family, but they live over an hour away. So it’s good to have someone who can pop by. If they can’t get hold of her, I’m just around the corner.

“When I started looking after her, I felt 'what do we have in common because we aren’t in the same age group'. But she has travelled the world and has very fascinating stories and she’s also served in the RAF. She says to me sometimes, I’m the first person she’s spoken to today. I’m quite a hard person but I’ve had a few moments where I’ve choked up."

Anneka is now working as a recruitment manager, but she has more flexibility in her role, which allows her to look after her dad John Mallins, 75, who lives nearby.

“He had to shield early on so we were protecting him, but I put dinner in his porch. It'’s very much about family. Although I don’t have to do it, it’s never a problem and I want to help as his daughter of course. He is now part of our bubble so that’s been much better."

Anneka shared her volunteering story on social media and has since had people contacting her to get involved. She said: "There’s more to life than just work. Before lockdown happened, I couldn’t even tell you who my kids' teachers were. So it’s been really nice to re-engage with my kids again.

She still goes in to see Sheila when she can. “I was worried if I would still have time to do it but she lives in the same estate so it still works. My kids Oliver and Toby are always wanting to see her, just for being lovely and I’m humbled by that. I take my kids to the door with my dog and it brings her to life. I’m giving something back which is worthwhile. My husband Dennis has been really supportive and knows that volunteering is really important to me. I can now sit with my family and make them dinner and take time together as a family.”

See Royal Wootton Bassett Covid-19 Mutual Aid on Facebook for more.