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New friends scheme to aid elderly living alone

The new Evergreen Sleaford befriending charity launched on Monday night. From left - Becky Mayfield - trustee and co-ordinator, Dr Merla Marsden - trustee, Ruth Woulds - co-ordinator, Keith Maltby - secretary, Varrie Adamson - treasurer and Dave Jeal - chairman. Photo: 0507SB-4

The new Evergreen Sleaford befriending charity launched on Monday night. From left - Becky Mayfield - trustee and co-ordinator, Dr Merla Marsden - trustee, Ruth Woulds - co-ordinator, Keith Maltby - secretary, Varrie Adamson - treasurer and Dave Jeal - chairman. Photo: 0507SB-4

A NEW volunteer service has been launched to befriend older and vulnerable people living alone in isolation in Sleaford area.

The official launch of the Evergreen Befriending Service took place on Monday evening at North Kesteven District Council’s Civic Suite attended by local organisations including the town, district and county councils.

Currently 41 per cent of the population of Lincolnshire is over 50 and it will be nearer 50 per cent by 2033, which is what has prompted the start up of the scheme two years ago.

The service, operating within a 10 mile radius of Sleaford, offers over 55s a one to one friendship from a carefully identified volunteer befriender.

Dave Jeal, chairman of Sleaford Caring Trust which has been established to deliver this new service, said “We have been recruiting volunteer befrienders over the past 12 months and have already recruited over 30 volunteers. All we ask by way of commitment from them is one hour per week to visit the elderly person with whom they have been paired. This vital service is becoming increasingly important to many elderly people in our area.”

The first friendship connections have already been established. Louise Marsh, chief executive of Evergreen Care Trust based in Stamford said: “We wanted to roll out our model for befriending elderly and vulnerable people and Sleaford is the first of what we hope will be many more such ventures across the county and the country as a whole. We are really excited about the prospects it offers.”

Ian Fytche, chief executive of NKDC, said his team were keen to see the service come to Sleaford: “We know that the number and proportion of elderly people in North Kesteven is increasing ahead of county and national trends, so it is increasingly important that we in our communities make suitable provision for older people to have simple friendships available to them. We are thankful for the work of Churches Together in Sleaford and District who helped to launch this new initiative.”

 

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