Life can be lonely, irrespective of your circumstances and how many friends and family you have around you. This is especially true for older people. The majority of our older generation live well into their 70s, 80s and 90s, which can mean a very long retirement. Many older people have care requirements or no family local to them, which can lead to isolation, loneliness and depression.
This is a topic close to my heart. My Grandad lived a very full and adventurous life but was completely lost when my Grandma passed away at the age of 96. He lived for the visits from his friends and family, and passed away aged 97. I would have hated to think of him sad and alone, with no-one to share his stories and crosswords with.
Time to Talk Befriending is one of a growing number of charities aiming to combat loneliness. They run services in Sussex, supporting 230 older people through a network of over 350 volunteers and school students. They offer weekly and fortnightly visits as well as group sessions run with local organisations. One of their core aims is to promote inter-generational befriending whenever possible, including a forest school. I’ve had the privilege of taking my son to enjoy an inter-generational singing session in a local day centre, and the benefits for everyone involved are immediate.
Time to Talk Befriending is a charity and relies on donations from individuals and organisations. Here’s some of the ways the money raised can be used to support older people:
- £6.00 per person would provide a traditional, professionally cooked Christmas meal on Christmas day with a volunteer befriender who will visit and help to heat up the meal – £30 would give 5 people the chance to have a Christmas meal with a friend!
- £12.50 pays towards food and transport enabling older people to attend weekly inter-generational group befriending events, in partnership with a local church and local college – £50 would enable 4 people to join regular, weekly befriending events!
- £150.00 could pay for transport to the Time to Talk Christmas event which brings older people, who are usually housebound and alone, together for the holidays
Homewise Ltd in Worthing, West Sussex are raising money for this amazing charity, with their staff taking part in a number of challenges. A team of employees are taking part in the Big Blind Walk on November 4th, where participants will run or walk blindfolded with the aid of a guide around the Olympic stadium in London. Also, other employees will be walking 10k along Worthing seafront on November 2nd.
Homewise are aiming to raise £10,000 to fund a new, permanent member of staff to run the befriending scheme in Worthing, changing many lives for years to come!
You can make a donation to help Time to Talk Befriending through the Homewise Just Giving page. Even just a few pounds can make a massive difference.