Befriending scheme for elderly faces closure as funding runs out (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting TANEWS to 80360, or email
Befriending scheme providing company for elderly is under threat as funding runs out
A service that offers a valuable lifeline of friendship to lonely older people in the Shipley area is facing closure due to funding cuts, say organisers Health Action Local Engagement (HALE) has come to the end of lottery funding for its programme of sending trained volunteers to see isolated elderly people.
Its Befriending scheme has run since 2009 and offers weekly visits providing much-needed company and social interaction to people with no friends or family nearby.
It was set up in 2003 and became an independent charity in 2008.
One young volunteer said she also looked forward to seeing her regular “Befriendee” as part of the Befriending scheme.
“She has enriched my life and now I feel part of the local community,” the volunteer added.
“I don’t have any grandparents, so it’s fantastic to have her as a friend and so it no longer feels as though I’m volunteering. I’m just visiting a friend to catch up,” she said.
A recent social audit highlighted the significant health benefits of Befriending.
“Depression and even mild dementia, can be alleviated by befriending visits over a six-month period,” said a report by the Social Audit Network 2012.
“The provision of regular weekly social company, to someone who has few visitors, is a real improvement to their lives.”
Natasha Thomas, manager at HALE said: “In the last three years we have provided visits to 195 isolated older people in the Shipley area.
“Since the closure last year of the Alzheimer’s Society’s befriending project, we have seen an increase in the number of referrals we get for people with dementia, so we know that Befriending services such as ours are vitally needed.
“We are appealing for donations, of any size, from anyone who feels passionate, like we do, about reducing loneliness among older people.”
Anyone who could support the scheme should contact HALE on (01274) 271088.