Help the elderly escape a prison

This Is Wiltshire: Michelle Matthews, Paula Harrison, Tracy Scott and Gail Light Michelle Matthews, Paula Harrison, Tracy Scott and Gail Light

PEOPLE who are able to give up some of their time to help the most vulnerable elderly residents are being asked to come forward.

A new scheme is being set up to help those who may be alone and receive less than four hours of social support a week.

A group of around 100 elderly have been identified in this category and the project, part of the Cities of Service Programme, will focus on them.

Organisers says volunteers can help no matter the amount of time they have to spare.

Paula Harrison, the locality lead for West Swindon, said: “It doesn’t matter whether people can only spare 15 minutes or a couple of hours a week. It can make a big difference in someone’s life.

“It could be helping in the home or the garden or going out shopping. It is very easy for elderly people who may not have great mobility to become isolated.

“We want to help build their confidence so they go out more often.”

The negative effects of loneliness on the elderly is well documented, so as well as providing company the scheme can have long-term medical benefits.

“When you are on your own then a day can seem like a very long time. By having this contact it provides a point of contact andsomeone to talk to,” said Paula.

“There are a number of reasons why someone might become isolated. They may have lost a loved one or the family may have moved. We often find that families are grateful for programmes such as these.

“It is often not possible for them to look after relatives everyday because of other commitments so they find it comforting their relations have someone local keeping an eye on them.”

Paula and the other locality leaders across Swindon are looking for anyone who can come forward to help.

She said: “Whether people want to provide help on an individual basis, in pairs or as a group, we can help them.

“We will ask for two references, and a Disclosure and Barring Service Check will be undertaken. This will show the volunteers they are valid and the elderly that we have done the correct checks.”

Anyone who wants to find out more can contact Paula on 01793 466418. People can sign up directly by emailing swindoncircles@swindon.gov.uk or by completing an online form through surveymonkey.com/s/icanmakeadifference

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