Older people’s companions needed

More volunteers are needed to help elderly people.

More volunteers are needed to help elderly people. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A SUPPORT service which provides companions for older people hopes to double the number of people it can help thanks to a £15,000 grant.

The money has been given to the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) by the People’s Postcode Lottery and will be used to expand its North Somerset Good Neighbours scheme.

This sees volunteers offer a telephone befriending service and also home visits to help older people with daily tasks such as shopping, walking the dog or simply having a cup of tea and a chat.

The service has already supported 70 people since it began in 2013 and it is hoped it will reach another 75 over the next year. To do this it needs more volunteers.

Paddy Sterndale has been volunteering for about six months. Following the death of her partner after 44 years together, she wanted to find something worthwhile to give her time to.

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She now regularly visits three women, taking them on shopping trips or to church.

“She also helps in the RVS office, based at Waverley Court in Forth Avenue, Portishead, carrying out administrative tasks.

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The 66-year-old from Portishead, said: “It is selfish really as it is for me as much as it is for them.

“Sometimes they just want to stay at home and have a chat but most of the time they want to get out and about as it might be their only chance to do so.

“We are all going to get old and possibly be in a position like I am when their partner is no longer around. It would be nice to think there are people out there who would give up some of their time for you.

“In other countries older people get a lot more respect. They have all got interesting pasts.”

The RVS supports more than 100,000 older people across Britain each month to stay independent in their homes for longer.

For more details about volunteering call 01275 400945 or email sharon.donkin@royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk

More details about the RVS can also be found here.

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