Rain

Rain

max temp: 11°C

min temp: 6°C

Search

Sudbury: Offering friendship and care for vulnerable at Christmas

10:51 24 December 2012

Volunteer befriender Majorie Bush with one of the women who benefit from the scheme.

Volunteer befriender Majorie Bush with one of the women who benefit from the scheme.

Archant

A VOLUNTARY organisation that provides friendship and care to vulnerable people has highlighted the need for its services, particularly during the festive period.

The Sudbury-based Befriending Scheme, which offers Suffolk-wide drop-in centres and one-to-one friendship for people with mental health needs, older people and those with learning difficulties, has just launched a new website to make it easier for help to be accessed.

The charity is also urging people to make time for lonely or vulnerable Suffolk residents, especially over Christmas and New Year.

According to the organisation Friends of the Elderly, 500,000 older people spend Christmas Day on their own in the UK.

Many who are struggling to cope with escalating heating bills are facing a cold, lonely festive season this year.

In a survey carried out by the charity, almost one in four people questioned admitted they would not be including elderly relatives, neighbours or community members in their seasonal celebrations – and around 44% said it was because they didn’t have enough time.

Befriending Scheme chief executive Shirley Moore said a few hours a month of a volunteer’s time could make an enormous difference to a vulnerable person’s life.

“The people we provide services for often don’t have any family, which means that at a time like Christmas, they are likely to be very much alone,” she said.

“When we link people with a befriender, it can be life-changing and particularly so at this time of year.

“Without our volunteers, many vulnerable people would remain isolated and lonely.”

Lesley Gibson started visiting the Sudbury befriending hub after suffering bouts of depression and a nervous breakdown.

The 55-year-old, who also has learning difficulties, said she looked forward to the weekly befriending sessions, adding: “I enjoy going to the hub because you can just chat one-to-one and there’s no back-biting. You couldn’t ask for a better group of people.”

Marjorie Bush, 63, from Ipswich, has been a volunteer befriender with the scheme for the past seven years. She helps at the Ipswich hub every week, and with two women on a one-to-one basis.

She said: “I have one lady who I go and sit with while her parents go out and another who I take to bingo.

“I became a befriender because I found myself on my own with time to spare. I have to say it has given me a purpose and an interest, so it has improved my life too.”

To become a befriender, visit www.thebefriendingscheme.org.uk for more details.

0 comments

High-risk sex offenders, including those with a history of breaching court restrictions, are not being checked by Essex Police a new report has revealed.

Domestic abuse victims as old as 90 are coming forward for the first time according to support services in Essex.

Suffolk’s hit-making chart star, Ed Sheeran, wowed the crowds at this year’s Brit Awards with a rendition of his most recent hits.

More than 40 photographers will be exhibiting hundreds of images for this year’s Ipswich and District Photographic Society exhibition.

Council tax bills in Ipswich will go up by 2.7% from April.

A woman paid an alleged conman from Suffolk who claimed to be a helicopter pilot £300 for a flying lesson for her daughter that never took place, it has been claimed.

The owner of a pet cat who had its ears cut in what has been described as a “horrific” attack has spoken out to warn others.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Eating Out in the Broads

cover

Click here to view
the Eating Out
supplement

View

Visit the Broads

cover

Click here to view
the Visit the Broads
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24