Volunteers urged to make a New Year's resolution to become a Good Friend

The Northern Echo: Volunteers urged to make a New Year's resolution to become a Good Friend Volunteers urged to make a New Year's resolution to become a Good Friend

LOSING weight, getting fit and giving up smoking are all common New Year’s resolutions, but members of a community scheme are urging people to look out for their elderly and vulnerable neighbours in 2014.

The Good Friends scheme, run by Age UK Darlington, is urging volunteers to make a New Year’s resolution to become a Good Friend to older or vulnerable people in Darlington.

The scheme was launched in October this year and aims to support 1,500 older and vulnerable people in Darlington, as well as providing a support network for both volunteers and their elderly neighbours.

So far, about 200 volunteers have signed up to become a volunteer Good Friend to help elderly neighbours with simple day-to-day tasks to combat isolation and increase independence in older people.

As part of the scheme, run in partnership with Darlington Neighbourhood Watch Association and the police, a Good Friend can help with a number of day-to-day tasks, from helping with dog walking, to having a chat on the phone or over a cup of tea.

During the winter months, volunteers are also being urged to help vulnerable people leave the house during extreme weather, or checking to see if they are warm enough.

A spokesperson for the scheme said: “A small commitment of less than just one hour per week or fortnight can make an exceptional difference to older or vulnerable people who face the burden of loneliness or difficulty with general tasks, taken for granted by most of us.

“One volunteer has told us: “I don’t have many friends myself and my family all live away so my volunteering not only helps others it helps me too.”

“There are hundreds of thousands of older and vulnerable people across the country who spend much of their time alone and lonely. Darlington is no exception, with a higher than average proportion of older people living in the town.”

To become a Good Friend call 01325-362832 or visit goodfriends.org.uk

For more information follow @JoinGoodFriends on Twitter or visit facebook.com/goodfriendsdarlington

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