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Age UK appeals for volunteers to help older people

Published on 30 May 2022 12:00 AM

Age UK is appealing for more volunteers to join the Charity and help make a huge difference to the lives of older people ahead of Volunteers’ Week. The annual celebration, which runs from 1st – 7th June, recognises the phenomenal contribution of volunteers in communities across the country and Age UK is hoping to inspire a new generation of volunteers to give up their time to help older people who have no one to turn to.

As well as helping others and providing much-needed support, volunteering offers huge benefits to the individual and enables people to gain valuable new skills, confidence, experiences and friends. And because Age UK offers so many services, nationally and locally, there are countless opportunities available to those who volunteer for the Charity. For example, people can:

VOLUNTEER AS A TELEPHONE BEFRIENDER

Age UK’s Telephone Friendship Services are there to provide a regular, friendly conversation for those who want it by matching older people up with a trained volunteer who calls them at the same time every week. Just 30 minutes a week of a volunteer’s time can make an enormous difference to an older person’s life – anyone who is empathetic and enjoys talking on the phone could be perfect for this role, which can be delivered from a location convenient to the volunteer, such as their home or place of work.

Even before COVID arrived the UK was facing a loneliness epidemic amongst older people, with issues such as bereavement, ill health and complex long term health conditions making it harder for older people to stay connected.  The pandemic exacerbated these issues with huge numbers of older people forced to navigate this difficult time alone. Latest ONS statistics show that around 1.2 million older people across the UK often feel lonely[i].

To find out more about Age UK’s friendships services and how you can help, please visit www.ageuk.org.uk/get-involved/volunteer/telephone-befriender 

JOIN AN AGE UK SHOP TEAM

Age UK has over 250 charity shops across England & Wales, which help the Charity raise vital funds for its work and services for older people who have no one else to turn to. The shops are dependent on the support and dedication of volunteers, who not only help with the essential operations but also offer a friendly welcome and chat for everyone who comes in. Every hour they contribute makes a huge difference.

Offering a variety of volunteer roles, taster sessions and time slots to fit around busy lives, Age UK shops have a range of opportunities for volunteers, both behind the scenes and on the shop floor, including serving customers and creating displays, managing stock donations and assisting with shop administration.

To find out more about Age UK’s shops and how you can help, please visit www.ageuk.org.uk/get-involved/volunteer/shop-volunteer

VOLUNTEER FOR THE SILVER LINE HELPLINE

Age UK’s subsidiary charity, The Silver Line Helpline, is the only free and confidential 24-hour helpline in the UK for people over the age of 55 who feel lonely and isolated.  Becoming a Helpline volunteer enables people to use their skills and experience to make a difference to the lives of older people, helping to boost their happiness and wellbeing.

To find out more about The Silver Line Helpline and how you can help, please visit www.ageuk.org.uk/get-involved/volunteer/silver-line-helpline or email helpline.volunteering@thesilverline.org.uk

OFFER SUPPORT TO A LOCAL AGE UK

There is a network of over 120 independent local Age UKs, and Age Scotland, Age Northern Ireland and Age Cymru organisations that run a variety of excellent services. These are wide-ranging but include health and fitness activities, digital inclusion programmes and home from hospital transport. Some of these organisations also offer local telephone and face-to-face friendship services for older people feeling lonely. Volunteers play a key role in the delivery of these services.

Anyone who is looking to directly support older people in their local community can get in touch with their local Age UK office or visit www.ageuk.org.uk/get-involved/volunteer/volunteering-enquiry 

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, said: “Every day, in so many ways, our volunteers give their time and effort to make an incredible difference to the lives of older people. Without them, we couldn’t be here when we’re needed the most and we are hugely grateful.

“I am a telephone befriender myself for Age UK and speak to the same lady every week on a Friday afternoon. We both enjoy our conversations and we’ve become quite good friends. My Age UK colleagues matched us and did a good job of it, as we both like gardening and wildlife, and dote on our respective cats! These calls are a part of my life now too and something I value and enjoy, just as my telephone friend does too. I thoroughly recommend it, but if this isn’t for you then there are lots of other volunteering opportunities available, and most of them are flexible so you can fit them around other things you do.”   

Age UK’s national and local services have been a lifeline for thousands of older people and their families over the past two years, and continue to offer much-needed support as the cost of living crisis, which is having a significant impact on older people, deepens.   The support of a wide network of more than 200,000 dedicated volunteers is invaluable but more volunteers are needed to help Age UK and The Silver Line continue to be there for the older people who are most in need.

To celebrate the incredible volunteer efforts carried out by so many, Age UK will be highlighting volunteering during Volunteers’ Week this year by posting messages of thanks and success stories alongside the hashtag #ProudToBeAgeUK.

Anyone who is interested in becoming a volunteer for Age UK should visit www.ageuk.org.uk/get-involved/volunteer or contact Volunteer@ageuk.org.uk

 -Ends-

[i] Age UK analysis of data from wave 11 of the UK Household Longitudinal Study (Understanding Society) which was collected in 2018-2020, scaled up to the UK population using ONS mid-year population estimates for 2020

Age UK

We work with our national partners, Age Scotland, Age Cymru and Age NI and our local Age UK partners in England (together the Age UK Family). We also work internationally for people in later life as a member of the DEC and with our sister charity Help Age International.

Age UK believes that everyone should have the opportunity to make the most of later life, whatever their circumstances. We provide free information, advice and support to over six million people; commercial products and services to over one million customers; and research and campaign on the issues that matter to people in later life. Our work focuses on five key areas: money matters, health and well-being, home and care, work and training and leisure and lifestyle.

Age UK is a charitable company limited by guarantee and registered in England (registered charity number 1128267 and company number 6825798). Age Concern England and Help the Aged (both registered charities), and their trading and other associated companies merged on the 1st April 2009. Together they have formed the Age UK Group ("we"). Charitable services are offered through Age UK and commercial products are offered by the Charity's trading companies, which donate their net profits to Age UK (the Charity).

For more information

Contact the Age UK Media team on 020 3033 1430 during office hours (Mon-Fri 08:30-17:30) or for out-of-hours media support please email media@ageuk.org.uk 

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Last updated: May 30 2022

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