Chatting for charities

Published by Editorial team on

Remember back in the olden days before masks, social distancing and perspex screens? I often ‘got stuck’ in the supermarket queue behind an elderly person who was chatting away to the cashier, telling the cashier their life story whilst packing their shopping up at the speed of Rowan Atkinson in that famous ‘Love Actually’ scene. In my frantic rush to get to work/pick the kids up I sometimes used to smile through gritted teeth and think to myself ‘Come on man/woman! Places to go, people to see!”

I’m ashamed of that now. Because the fact of the matter is maybe that older person did not have places to go…or people to see. Maybe that cashier was the only person they were going to chat to for goodness knows how many days.

Now; with community associations, day centres, social clubs and exercise classes cancelled; older people have even less opportunity to make the connections that we all need. Statistics show older adults are feeling more isolated than ever and depression amongst that age group is on the rise.

That’s why the telephone befriending schemes that lots of charities are now running are so vital. They are providing a link to the outside world for so many people who are struggling with isolation and loneliness. If you have an hour or so of spare time; why not check out opportunities for volunteering as a befriender? I promise you it will be of as much benefit to you as it would be to the elderly person you’re matched with. Volunteers report that giving their time for the greater good actually increases their own feelings of wellbeing. And who doesn’t love hearing stories about those simpler days gone by? If you’re anything like me and very short on time, the idea that you can do something good for another human being, from the comfort of your own sofa, sounds very appealing doesn’t it!

Click on the links below for information on the various charities who are currently recruiting volunteers.

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