Support is growing for a new volunteer scheme which points older people in the direction of services or community groups that can help them live an independent and active life.
Twelve people have signed up as “community navigators” and the scheme is looking for more volunteers.
Maggie Wharrier from the Wisbech area is one of the recruits. She said: “I feel I’ve been very lucky in my life and I want to put something back. I’ve worked in the reference section of a library, so I’m used to finding information out for people.”
Maggie will be based at the Oasis Centre in Wisbech. Two other navigators are currently offering the service in the town.
The Community Navigators scheme is a three-year project set up by Care Network Cambridgeshire as an information service for older people. It is funded by
Cambs County Council and has the backing of Fenland Council.
Volunteers direct older people to organisations that can help them in practical ways such as modifying their homes or maximising their income. They can also provide details of clubs, activity groups or community transport schemes.
Navigators are currently operating out of King Edward Centre, Chatteris, March and Whittlesey libraries and the Rosmini Centre in Wisbech.
Local coordinator Tim Barzycki said: “We are filling a gap rather than replacing or duplicating services. Our volunteers don’t give advice themselves on specific issues. They point people to the relevant statutory or voluntary organisation or highlight particular community activities”.
“We’re looking for individuals 18 plus who can spare at least one hour a week meeting people or talking over the phone. They operate in a specific location not at home.
“We’re particularly keen to get some in the villages where older people are more isolated.
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