Cash boost for voluntary service that helps tackle loneliness for older people

Good Neighbours Scheme
Good Neighbours Scheme

Older people’s charity the Royal Voluntary Service has been awarded funding of £13,000 by The Bedford Borough House of Industry Estate, a charitable trust run by the council, to help tackle loneliness and isolation amongst older people.

The funding will be put towards growing the Bedfordshire Good Neighbours service which pairs volunteers with older people in the area. Volunteers can help with basic tasks such as getting some shopping, providing a lift to a doctor’s appointment or a social event, as well as just sitting down for a friendly chat.

The service aims to help older people stay independent, whilst providing friendly, social interaction to make sure they’re safe and well.

The Bedfordshire Good Neighbours Service hopes to reach an additional 100 people thanks to this funding, helping it to grow into a financially sustainable service by 2017.

Abigail Hurrell, Operations Manager for Royal Voluntary Service in Bedfordshire, said: “Many people in Bedfordshire are isolated and lonely and are finding it difficult coping on their own. Royal Voluntary Service can provide a lifeline and support where friends or family are unable to. Whether it’s a cup of tea and a chat or a lift to the shops, we can tailor the support to the needs of the older person. We are very grateful for the funding which will help us to deliver and grow our services until no older person in Bedfordshire is left struggling on their own.”

Poppy, Royal Voluntary Service, Service User, said: “Ann (Royal Voluntary Service Volunteer) came into my life at just the right time, I am experiencing some health problems right now and my darling husband of 50 years has just moved into a care home, so I was feeling very low. I look forward to Anne coming every week. We get on so well, we have a giggle, go out for coffee and other things. I think of her as a sister now.”

Royal Voluntary Service supports over 100,000 older people each month to stay independent in their own homes for longer with tailor made solutions. Through its army of volunteers, the charity runs services such as Good Neighbours (companionship), Meals-on-Wheels and Books-on-Wheels that alleviate loneliness and help older people. Royal Voluntary Service also provides practical support for older people who have been in hospital through its On Ward Befriending and Home from Hospital services and via its network of retail shops and cafes.

To find out more information about services in Bedfordshire or how to become a volunteer, please visit http://www.royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk/