Volunteers sign up to help beat loneliness in South Tyneside

Age UK's campaign co-ordinator Victoria Dunn.
Age UK's campaign co-ordinator Victoria Dunn.

Charity bosses in South Tyneside say they are delighted with the response of people in South Tyneside to their anti-loneliness campaign

Age UK South Tyneside says almost a dozen volunteers have signed up this week to help elderly people in the borough.

Since its launch on Monday, Age UK South Tyneside’s campaign No One Should Have No One, has seen 11 new volunteers sign up to help the charity provide its vital services for the borough’s elderly.

The campaign, supported by the Gazette and South Tyneside Council, is urging people to help the charity, particularly by getting involved with its befriending service, which puts volunteers in contact with lonely older people.

The charity is also calling for the Government to develop strategies to map, prevent and address loneliness through a petition.

In the first week of the campaign, 14 people have signed the petition.

Campaign co-ordinator Victoria Dunn said she was pleased with the progress of the campaign so far.

“Eleven new volunteers this week is quite a lot to recruit off the back of one campaign, so I am quite pleased,” she said.
 “Members of the community have also come forward to express support for the campaign, but I would like to encourage more people to take action and volunteer.”

Please help

Christmas is supposed to be the happiest time of the year as we enjoy festive cheer with our families and friends.

But for many elderly folk across Tyneside, it can be a very lonely time.

In South Tyneside, Age UK estimates that the borough is the 15th most lonely borough out of the 326 local authority areas in England.

It says some senior citizens in South Tyneside can go for a month without speaking to a friend, neighbour or family member.

The Shields Gazette is teaming up with Age UK’s team in the town to launch our 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.

Age UK 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 is asking the public to sign its loneliness petition to make sure no one has no one.

It wants to see the Government and South Tyneside 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.

Alternatively, there is a petition on this page to sign and send in – get your friends to sign it too.

To get involved in volunteering, contact Age UK South Tyneside on: 0191 4566903.