Volunteers needed to visit elderly people in March and Wisbech

A charity is urgently looking for volunteers to bring a bit of joy to the lives of isolated elderly people in Fenland.

Age UK Cambridgeshire has a waiting list of nearly 20 older people in March and Wisbech areas, who do not receive regular visitors.

Now the charity is putting out an appeal for volunteers to sign up to give just one hour a week to help an pensioner.

A recent report in America has shown that lonely people are nearly twice as likely to die prematurely as those who are not.

Gill Barnes, team leader for the charity’s visitor scheme, said: “Social isolation is really bad for people’s health and their self-esteem if they feel they are not part of their community.

“Having someone there for an hour makes all the difference.

“Volunteers get a lot out of it as well.”

The charity currently has 12 people living in March who are on the waiting list for a visitor and six in Wisbech.

Elderly people are referred to the scheme by their social workers or GP but the charity also receives a number of self referals from people in need of support.

The only requirements of volunteers are to be over 16 and have a listening ear.

Volunteers undergo some background checks but will be given an induction and some training.

Mrs Barnes said: “If they have an hour a week, they can make a big difference to the life of an elderly person.

“Please come on board and help us to provide a vital service.”

The charity runs schemes across Cambridgeshire.

If you would like more information on joining the befriender service please call the branch on 0845 521 3481.