Charities appeal for new volunteers to help their work with older people
PUBLISHED: 08:38 06 July 2018 | UPDATED: 08:38 06 July 2018
Simon Lee Photography
Suffolk charities have issued an appeal for "people power" to fuel their voluntary workforce helping older people.
Leading organisations highlighted growing demand on services – but warned they needed greater support to reach those in need.
Suffolk Community Foundation (SCF) is urging more people to volunteer, highlighting the benefits it brings in achieving a “happier and healthier later life”.
SCF said it was often the smaller local charities that people go to when they need help.
Sally Fogden, chairman of the Rural Coffee Caravan, said: “We go to very, small communities that haven’t got a pub, shop or village hall. In some places we park on the grass of a triangle between three roads, when they haven’t even got a village green. If there is nothing in your village, there’s nowhere for you to go.”
Suffolk has double the national average of people living in rural areas, which the Rural Coffee Caravan helps to develop their own sustainable solution.
“I used the coffee caravan for some time,” said Trish, from Wingfield. “Then I lost my husband and went into a deep depression and, if it wasn’t for the ladies at the Coffee Caravan, I would have withered away.”
Suffolk charity, ActivLives, gets older people out of their homes.
“My parents were looking for something, as my mother had developed dementia, and we found ActivLives,” said Sue Cranwell. “Then my father died, and I took on looking after my mother. Together we do chair aerobics and singing.”
Julie Stokes, chief officer for ActivLives, said while more than 50 volunteers helped its work “we still need more”.
Hilary Neeve, volunteer for Upbeat Heart Support, which works in Bury St Edmunds and Long Melford, added: “The NHS hasn’t got the money. People who have had heart surgery are offered rehab for half a day a week, for six weeks. They get to the end of it and go ‘what can we do now?’ We have 750 members supported by 35 volunteers. We need other people to set up more Upbeats.”
SCF’s Tim Holder said medical and animal welfare charities received twice that received by those working with older people “Factor in the growing number of older people in Suffolk, and you can see why we to bang the drum locally to get them stronger support,” he added.
Call SCF on 01473 602602 to learn more about volunteering.