Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 7°C

ESTD 1874 Search

WIN A NEW HYUNDAI i10 - See the EADT on June 8 for full details

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.

shares

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.

shares

0 comments

Sizewell A and B

A study is to be carried out around the Sizewell nuclear power stations site to investigate whether people eating food produced in the area or spending time there are vulnerable to radioactivity.

Police were at the scene

The incidents happened at around 2pm and drivers can expect delays while efforts to clear the oil spill are made.

Essex Police last year searched the area near Scarfe Way in the investigation into the murder of Nahid Almanea.

The teenager from Colchester, initially arrested on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon in the Salary Brook Trail on Tuesday, is in police custody.

Train services from Ipswich to London are returning to normal due after urgent track repair work near Norwich.

Blue plaque to commemorate the Zeppelin raids in Bury St Edmunds, Denny Bros. Unveiling by Mayor Patrick Chung.

A plaque has been unveiled in Bury St Edmunds to mark two Zeppelin raids on the town during the First World War.

Ipswich library

A 21-year-old man has been jailed after stealing alcohol worth nearly £200 and a man’s iPhone in Ipswich Library.

An onlookers view of the celebrity wedding of Mark Wright and Michelle Keegan - Vicar of St Mary's Malcolm Rogers and others looking out for the half-hour late bride

Sunday was a quiet morning so I thought I would meander along to the St Mary’s Church in Bury St Edmunds and be a fly-on-the-wall observer at the wedding of Mark Wright and Michelle Keegan – talk of which had been filling tabloid pages for days.

Cousins Entertainment's ice rink in Winchester.

The first real ice rink in Bury St Edmunds is set to make the town a popular destination for visitors this festive season.

John Walsh

The West Suffolk College student was travelling in a Vauxhall Corsa with his girlfriend at the time. She was not seriously injured.

Anger over plans for new homes in Rushmere

Planners have pledged to “robustly defend” their decision to refuse housing proposed for a “commemorative woodland” in east Suffolk, rejecting criticisms they were “rolling over” to the developers.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages