Sid Valley HELP and Independent Age join forces to combat loneliness in Sidmouth

PUBLISHED: 07:03 27 February 2019

Deirdre Hounsom,Keith Gillanders,Peter McGanley and Di Fuller of Sid Valley Help. Ref shs 02 19TI 8116. Picture: Terry Ife

Deirdre Hounsom,Keith Gillanders,Peter McGanley and Di Fuller of Sid Valley Help. Ref shs 02 19TI 8116. Picture: Terry Ife

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A national charity has joined forces with a local cause on a mission to combat loneliness.

Sid Valley HELP (SVH) and Independent Age will be working together on a recruitment drive for more volunteers to help with the scheme.

Di Fuller, SVH’s chairman of trustees, said one in five older people in the UK were in contact with friends, family and neighbours less than once a week, while for one in ten it was less than once a month.

In addition to this, around 40 per cent of older people say the television is their main form of company. By joining the team and volunteering with Independent Age, residents can help make a difference.

SVH needs people to spend an hour once a week or once a fortnight, meeting up with people in their home for a chat. A drop-in session to find out more will be held on Tuesday, February 26 at Leigh Browne room, Unitarian Church, in All Saints Road between 10am and 12pm.

Di said: “There is currently little support in Sidmouth for people who are lonely and under 60 years of age. These may be people who live alone, who are recently bereaved or separated, who have few friends, have recently moved here, have a long term illness or a disability or who have maybe lost their confidence to go out and meet people. Sid Valley HELP is setting up a similar programme to Independent Age, but for younger people.”

Jeanette Bates, Independent Age’s head of wellbeing, said: “Volunteers are invaluable to the older people that we support. We hear from so many volunteers and older people who have had their lives changed for the better by the experience.

“Chronic loneliness can be really damaging to a person’s health, so with the help of Sidmouth residents, we hope to help make loneliness a thing of the past.”

Di added: “People of all ages are confronted by significant life changes, like bereavement of an older relative that they are close to, changes in employment, becoming a parent, moving house or relationship breakdown.

“We all have personal experience in our families or with friends of these sorts of situations and we all try to help as much as we can.”

Call 07525 767518/07786 816890 or email amanda.whitlock@independentage.org or di_fuller@hotmail.com for more information.

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