You’ve got a friend in me! Vulnerable elderly to buddy up with volunteers in Merton support scheme

A befriending scheme that pairs up vulnerable elderly people in Merton with new companions has been launched.

The free scheme led by Age UK Merton, and run in partnership with voluntary organisations including the Wimbledon Guild and Positive Network, will support isolated seniors by introducing them to volunteer friends.

Special emphasis is on helping those who are over 65, housebound and living alone.

Interim CEO of Age UK Merton, Jennie Chapman, said: “For many people it is a lifeline – some people are increasingly frail and have no family nearby.

“There are so many people out there who aren’t getting the services they need and together we can reach out and help more people that need it.

“There are about 5,000 people in the Merton area who would qualify for the scheme and by 2020 it is estimated there will be a 7% increase of over 65s.”

The aim of the scheme is to reduce social isolation and promote independence for vulnerable older people.

And the service is not just one-way – friendships are expected to blossom with volunteers and the elderly matched closely depending on their hobbies and interests.

The service can be carried out either on the phone or face-to-face, with volunteers welcome to meet or talk with their buddy every week.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer friend or would like to refer an elderly person to the scheme visit

Image courtesy of Age UK via YouTube, with thanks

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