Julie Melvin explores why and how we can get involved
Can you volunteer to be a befriender of someone over 65?
Why? One third of over-75s usually spend more than 12 hours a day on their own. One in 10 of the over-75s say they feel ‘intensely lonely all of the time’. One in eight older people who are lonely said they worry about their mental health because they have no-one to talk to. At the last census 20% of Bournemouth population were over 65; nearly 10% (15,296) of Bournemouth’s residents consider themselves carers.
There is some excellent work already being done to address this need at St Saviour’s. For example, Diamond Times, which is being featured on Hope In The Community’s Facebook page at the moment (also shared to our own page).
Here are some comments made by Wendy Hallowell, a member of our 9am congregation who is a befriender with Hope In The Community:
“I have found the experience rewarding. A lot of patience is needed to fulfil needs but not ‘tread on their toes’. I read magazines, and sometimes sing or I read poetry, which she likes. Conversation can be challenging, but when the lady who usually cares and supports gets home from her shopping, I sometimes stay for a cup of tea and have a chat with her.”
How can you join in?
Give a little time: Could you drop in to chat with someone who’s feeling lonely? Or even become a telephone befriender? Just a couple of hours per month could transform a lonely life. Contact me if you would like to volunteer.
Give financially: three people giving £5 per month would allow us to re-connect someone with their local community.
Pray: Hope In The Community can send you regular information so that you can pray for an end to the growing epidemic of loneliness.
Julie Melvin, Hope in the Community representative