Loneliness is a social epidemic prevalent in communities across the UK. For older people, loneliness is a massive issue.
‘200,000 older people say they haven’t had a conversation with friends or family for a month, whilst 3.9 million older people agree the television is their main form of company. The impact of loneliness can be as harmful to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.’ But there is a way of tackling loneliness. – AGEUK
Over the past year, ROC Northern Ireland have been working with Newtownabbey Methodist Mission and Rathcoole Neighbourhood Renewal Partnership to set up a befriending scheme for social isolated and lonely older people in Rathcoole, Newtownabbey.
Although there have been some challenges along the way, we are delighted to introduce you to our seven new ROC Care befriender volunteers. These lovely ladies have completed our recruitment and training process, and after the Easter holidays will be matched to a client needing their help.
During the four-week training programme, we focused on keeping safe, communication and interpersonal skills as well as learning more about our role. The training concluded with a ‘Community Crawl and Team-Building Night’, highlighting services provided in the area that could help clients become involved within their community. To our delight, the volunteers thoroughly enjoyed the training and report ‘I feel much more confident in my role as a befriender’. In feeding back on the training programme, one volunteer commented; ‘The training was very professional, with a friendly and approachable trainer. Great atmosphere. Looking forward to working together’.
We too are looking forward to working with these ladies. But most importantly we look forward to seeing lives changed as a result of their giving of time to their community.
If you’d like to support the work of our team in Northern Ireland please contact us or send a donation via the link below.