Reconnections is a project helping older people out of loneliness and into their local communities. Running across Worcestershire, more than 1,800 people have been referred to its service in the past 18 months. It helps people to take part in social activities or simply connect with others.
Until recently, Graham led an active life. After a busy career in manufacturing, his retirement has been filled by taking on roles in his local church and parish council. He lost his wife a few years ago and lives alone. He enjoys seeing his daughters and grandchildren, but this has become harder since he stopped driving. He used to enjoy regular walks but problems with his legs mean he can no longer get very far.
Since the start of the year Alan, a Reconnections volunteer, has been taking Graham out to local social activities, to the shops and to appointments with his GP. ‘I was stuck at home, which was especially lonely during the long dark winter’ says Graham, ‘until my friend here came along!’
‘I used to enjoy bowls until it got too hard, but thanks to Reconnections I’ve been to play carpet bowls. I even celebrated my 91st birthday at a social gathering in Evesham!’
Do you know somebody who might benefit from Reconnections? The service is completely free to use. You can find out more by calling (01905) 740954.
Alan got involved with Reconnections just over a year ago after deciding to find a volunteering role where he could help others.
‘Volunteering has opened a door for me’ says Alan. ‘Graham was quite isolated and it’s been very satisfying to see his outlook on life become brighter.’ Alan feels Reconnections is especially rewarding as there are so many elderly people who don’t have contact with others for days at a time.
Volunteers receive full training for their role, which Alan says was extremely thorough and very useful. ‘Reconnections is not just a befriending service, it’s helping older people to broaden their social network or become involved in local activities again.’
Volunteers usually work with someone for around six months, visiting them at home, helping to set up social contacts and other help which will become self-sustaining once the client’s contact with the project comes to an end.
Volunteers come from all sorts of backgrounds and ages. However, the scheme needs more help, so if you have an hour or two spare and would like to find out more call (01905) 740954. If you would like to apply online, it only takes two minutes at www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/reconnections
Reconnections is run by Age UK Herefordshire and Worcestershire together with several other partner organisations. You can read more at www.reconnectionsservice.org.uk