More volunteers sign up for Age UK campaign

Alan Patchett, managing director of Age UK Sunderland.
Alan Patchett, managing director of Age UK Sunderland.
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Age UK Sunderland’s campaign to tackle isolation has seen more volunteers sign up this week.

The Sunderland Echo has teamed up with the charity’s team in the city to support a ‘No One Should Have No One’ campaign – urging people to help the charity, particularly by getting involved with its befriending service, which puts volunteers in contact with lonely older people.

The campaign has seen eight new volunteers sign up this week and the charity hopes more will be inspired to help tackle loneliness this Christmas.

Age UK bosses say more people have also signed the Loneliness Petition this week which aims to bring the issue of social isolation to Government in the hopes more may be done to tackle it.

The campaign is particularly aimed at getting people involved with the Age UK befriending service, which puts volunteers in contact with lonely older people.

Since the campaign started three weeks ago 30 volunteers have signed up to the help isolated elderly people by taking on roles in a range of Age UK services.

Alan Patchett, director at Age UK Sunderland, said he was delighted with the number new volunteers.

He said: “We are very grateful to all those people who have signed up and we urge others to do the same.”

The campaign comes as Age UK statistics have shown that more than a million older people say they go for over a month without speaking to a friend, neighbour or family member.

In Sunderland, Age UK estimates there are 42,771 people aged 60 and over who could be classed as lonely or socially isolated. Of those, some 9,982 are over 80.

The charity is also calling for local and national government action to recognise loneliness as a serious health hazard and put policies in place to tackle it.

It wants to see the Government and Sunderland City Council develop strategies to map, prevent and address loneliness; evaluate and improve existing services to combat loneliness; and invest in testing and evaluating innovative solutions to loneliness.

To sign the petition online or donate to Age UK, visit the charity’s website.

To get involved in volunteering, contact Age UK Sunderland volunteer co-ordinator Barry Hall on 0191 514 1131.