AgeUK North Tyneside - Volunteering is delivering positive impact both ways!

Thu 2 Jun 2022

The Age UK North Tyneside Group was established in 1972 as a registered charity, became a Company Limited by Guarantee in 1987 and is a Brand Partner of the Age UK national Charity (i.e. a Brand Partner is a number of independent Charities which share the same name, values and standards). The organisation has grown to become the largest local voluntary organisation in the borough, with a turnover of circa. £5.5m, 250+ staff and 135+ volunteers providing a wide range of services in response to the local situation and needs of older people in North Tyneside.


Telephone Befriending Case Study

Shirley had been retired and living in Spain for 25 years, happily playing golf and enjoying the weather, when her husband sadly passed away. As a result, her own health went into decline and when COVID-19 restrictions were put in place she became isolated and very unhappy.

Her family convinced her to return home to England. She packed a few belongings and within three days was home in the North East. She left most of her belongings including her beloved golf clubs behind.

In the background, Shirley’s family had spoken with Age UK North Tyneside’s Information & Advice team. They had pulled together information on her behalf on likely benefit entitlement, pension, accommodation and taxes. 

Although Shirley was relieved to be home in England, the Government restrictions meant that the retirement accommodation she’d moved into had restricted access to communal areas. She was confined to her own apartment most of the time. She again became lonely and missed her friends in Spain who she communicated with only by text.

The Information & Advice team referred Shirley, with her consent, to the Telephone Befriending service. Age UK North Tyneside’s coordinator matched Shirley with a local volunteer. They chat every Thursday and this has lifted Shirley’s spirits again, as well as those of her volunteer who is currently unemployed.

Shirley said “I speak with Carole, the coordinator, regularly and she talks to me about any concerns I have. She keeps me on the straight and narrow and when I talk to my befriender we never stop laughing on the phone.”

Lynda is Shirley’s volunteer, she loves communicating with people. She said it’s given her “greater confidence when talking to people other than my family”.

Lynda was made redundant from the car showroom where she worked when COVID struck the country. As she lives by herself she was missing chatting to people and the days had become very long for her.

She needed something to build her confidence again and help her pass the time. Lynda spoke to VODA and chatted to her neighbour who also volunteers as a befriender. Her neighbour explained how much he enjoys the calls so she decided to give it a try.

She was matched with Shirley and said “I hadn’t realised how much I missed speaking to other people other than my family. I enjoy chatting to Shirley, she makes my day, we have a good laugh as she is a great character”

Although Lynda has accepted a new part-time role she will continue to chat with Shirley regularly.

By: Age UK North Tyneside

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