Help make sure nobody is lonely this Christmas

Cotswold Journal: A FRIEND IN NEED: Joan and her befriending volunteer Miki Darville share a smile. A FRIEND IN NEED: Joan and her befriending volunteer Miki Darville share a smile.

CHRISTMAS can be a lonely time of year for the elderly and isolated.

Befriending charity Cotswold Volunteers North, based in the library in Moreton, is in urgent need of 10 volunteers who can visit an elderly neighbour.

The charity has a long waiting list for befrienders and in particular needs volunteers to visit people in Mickleton, Bourton, Moreton and Chipping Campden.

Once befrienders are trained they will often visit more than one person, so a single recruitment can mean the charity can help two, or possibly even three people.

Amanda Howard, development manager, said the shorter days and longer lonely evenings worsen an existing problem for many people. “Isolation and loneliness always increase at this time of your for our older more vulnerable residents,”

she said.

“Coupled with icy pavement conditions and what appears to be the almost inevitable Cotswold snow, traps people in their homes during the day so making the winter months much worse than the summer for many.

“Just visiting one person can really be life changing.

Anxiety, depression, even physical health can be improved with company.

“Volunteers will be moved by the difference they can make, they provide peace of mind, real comfort and joy to the people they visit, there is no better gift to give.”

Miki Darville, aged 46, of Winchcombe, has been a volunteer at the charity since March and runs the lunch club and became a befriender three months ago.

The mother-of-six visits Joan, who lives in a Cotswold village, once a week for about three hours and they enjoy going shopping or for a coffee.

She said they both have a lot in common – despite there being 50 years between them – as they are both former chefs. “She’s a lovely old lady and she looks forward to me going,” she said.

“It’s really rewarding not just for the people you go and see, but for you too.”

For more information or to volunteer, call Kirsty Holder on 01608 652019.

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