According to Age UK, loneliness can be as harmful to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
Three in four GPs say they see between 1 and 5 people a day due to loneliness and a recent UK Gov survey found Britain to be the loneliest country in Europe, with some 225,000 older people going a full week without speaking to anyone.
To help combat loneliness, Brunelcare offers volunteer schemes whereby members of the public can sign up to have a cup of tea, a sing-song - or even play an instrument with the people we support. Not only can it help build social skills for the volunteer but it also alleviates loneliness in the older generation and benefits their mental health.
Over the past 30 years, Brunelcare has welcomed volunteers across various areas of our organisation - their presence and contributions have become an intrinsic part of our culture. This year, we also welcomed international volunteers for the first time through a partnership with Bristol UWE, which was a huge success.
Volunteering with Brunelcare can take many forms, some of the ways in which volunteers can help include:
- Spending time with our tenants and residents
- Gardening and DIY
- Providing entertainment, such as music or comedy
- Organising and promoting our local events
- Leading activities, such as art groups or exercise classes
Liz Ehlers, Brunelcare’s Volunteers Co-ordinator says: “We welcome involvement from enthusiastic and caring people in all aspects of our care, from helping at our day centre in Bristol to tending to the gardens in our care homes. Volunteering at Brunelcare is a truly rewarding experience and the people we support absolutely love it! We also encourage local talent, such as musicians, dancers or painters to volunteer with us at Brunelcare - the residents are always keen to get involved and love seeing new faces around their home.”
Liz, one of our recent volunteers, says: “I teach seated exercises on a Friday afternoon with some simple chair ‘dancing’ to finish. We don’t care if we go wrong, in fact it’s more fun when we do! Then we all have some tea, cake and a chat before the bus takes everyone home. It is a great team and it’s wonderful to see how important it is for the clients to get out and to enjoy such a caring environment.”
Volunteering can be beneficial for both parties. As well as combating loneliness in the older generation it’s said that 10% of people aged 16 to 24 are affected by loneliness too. Volunteering at Brunelcare is a great way to meet new people - including members of our teams, the people we support and other volunteers.
To find out more about our volunteering opportunities click here.
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