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London volunteers needed to support the older community

HELPING HAND: New service requires people to help support the older community

OLDER PEOPLE’s charity, Royal Voluntary Service, is calling on Londoners to give a few hours of their time each week; as part of a new service being piloted in Hackney and Merton, to help their older neighbours live independently at home.

Volunteers are needed to provide vital practical and emotional help to older people who will be referred to the charity by London Ambulance Service due to frequent falls and/or loneliness.

The support given will improve physical wellbeing and alleviate loneliness and is intended to reduce the frequency of calls to the ambulance service as a result of a fall. By assisting their older neighbours to go for a short walk or do some gentle exercises to strengthen their muscles, volunteers will play a significant role in reducing the person’s risk of falls.

In addition, as part of the ‘Supporting you at Home’ service, the volunteer will also provide practical support and guidance on nutrition and hydration as well as encouragement to motivate people to get out of their home and socialise more by joining local clubs or activities.

Royal Voluntary Service is looking to recruit volunteers who are local to Hackney and Merton, especially those from BME backgrounds to reflect the communities in which the services will be based. Volunteers will be asked to make at least a six month commitment to the project and should be available to start in September 2017. Two full days of training will be provided to all volunteers.

Dr Allison Smith, Head of Strategy and Development for Royal Voluntary Service said: “It is estimated that one in three people over the age of 65, and one in two over 80, will fall every year. We believe that targeted support provided by highly trained volunteers can make a significant difference in the physical and emotional wellbeing of older adults, reducing the chance of them falling and easing pressure on the London Ambulance Service."

"By working together with local people, volunteers and the London Ambulance Service we hope to find a way to help older people in London live happier and healthier lives at home.”

Royal Voluntary Service is one of Britain’s largest volunteering charities with over 25,000 volunteers supporting over 100,000 older people each month in hospitals and the community. The focus is on enriching lives, improving well-being and keeping loneliness at bay through an array of social activities and more structured support. The charity is also known as one of the largest retailers in the NHS, with its network of cafes and shops providing a valued haven in hospitals, while raising funds to support community work.

To find out more information about how to become a volunteer, please contact Helen Ko, Active Ageing Project Coordinator at 07766 998712 or email helen.ko@royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk

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