Volunteers wanted to help combat loneliness among the elderly

A charity is seeking volunteers in Richmondshire to help combat loneliness among older people.

Age UK North Yorkshire and Darlington is issuing an appeal as part of Loneliness Awareness Week, which runs from June 10 to 16.

The charity stresses the profound impact of social isolation on health and wellbeing, urging everyone to take proactive steps in fostering connections in their communities.

The charity is calling for volunteers and community members to engage in initiatives aimed at reducing loneliness, such as visiting programmes, social events, and support networks. These efforts are crucial in ensuring that older people feel valued and connected, it says.

Nat Bee, spokesperson for Age UK North Yorkshire and Darlington, highlights the severity of the issue: “Loneliness can have devastating effects on older people, leading to severe health consequences and a diminished quality of life.

“The research highlights the urgency of addressing this issue. I think one of the problems is that communities have become more fractured with people not even aware of the names of their close neighbours. It’s not about being a nosy neighbour, but just about something as simple as saying ‘hello, how are you?’”

Ted, 84, a resident of Darlington, shares his personal experience of loneliness: “Loneliness is like a dark cloud that never lifts. It’s not just about being alone; it’s about feeling forgotten and irrelevant.

“I know I’m not alone in the respect that others will be enduring the same as me.”


How Age UK can help

Age UK North Yorkshire and Darlington has launched several local initiatives to address loneliness:

  1. The Silver Line telephone helpline: https://www.ageuk.org.uk/services/silverline/Volunteers are matched with older people for regular phone calls or home visits, providing much-needed companionship.
  2. Community events: Regular events and gatherings are organised to encourage social interaction and build a sense of community.
  3. Support Groups: Specialised groups offer support for those dealing with bereavement, health issues, or other challenges that can lead to isolation.
  4. Meals at Home: 7-day a week meals delivered to the door, providing vital social contact as well as a warm meal.

Nat Bee adds: “These community initiatives are lifelines for many older people. However, we need more volunteers and support from the community to expand these services.”

Residents of North Yorkshire and Darlington are encouraged to participate in these efforts. Whether it’s volunteering for a few hours a week or simply reaching out to an older neighbour, every action counts.

For more information or to become part of the volunteer community, please call Age UK North Yorkshire & Darlington on 01325 362 832 or email: enquiries@ageuknyd.org.uk.