Could you help support older people in Bridport and Lyme Regis?

The Royal Voluntary service is calling for more people to help in the region and reach even more of the community’s most vulnerable residents.

The charity’s popular community-based companions provide regular company and conversation for older people and rely on teams of dedicated volunteers who coordinate various key activities such as recruiting volunteer visitors, initial visits to potential clients, introducing volunteers to clients, acting as treasurer for the group and helping with fundraising.

Lisa Knight, Royal Voluntary Service’s community development and operations manager, said: “Our community companions support many older people who benefit from regular visits from volunteers for a chat, maybe a trip out for coffee, a walk, or a spot of shopping, anything that makes the day brighter for our older people. Some of our clients describe their volunteer visit as a lifeline which helps stop them feeling lonely. We want to be able to attract even more older people along which is why we’re looking for more volunteers to help us support and grow our community companions. For anyone with a little spare time that is looking for a way to contribute to the local community, for example people that are recently retired, volunteering is hugely rewarding. We’re particularly keen to hear from volunteers who would like to help as treasurer or as part of a fundraising team.”

No previous experience is necessary as full training is provided. Royal Voluntary Service will also provide guidance on managing money, fundraising and on how to operate safely and legally.

David Sarson, coordinator for Bridport community companions, said: “We are sure that some extraordinary people will come forward to give their time, whether as volunteers, fundraisers or treasurer, to help us bring sunshine to an older person’s day. I am delighted that by being part of our Community Companions service, more local people are coming together to help keep older people engaged in our local community.”

Lisa Knight said: “Our volunteers are community heroes that make a genuine difference to the lives of older people. Working with us to set up a programme of new volunteer-led social activities is an exciting challenge for anyone with time to give and ideas, energy and enthusiasm to offer. We look forward to welcoming and supporting a host of new volunteer co-ordinators and leaders to scale up our support for older people.”

Previous research for Royal Voluntary Service found that older people who volunteer are happier and healthier than their counterparts who don’t.

Royal Voluntary Service is one of Britain’s largest volunteering charities with over 25,000 volunteers supporting thousands of older people each month in hospitals and the community. The focus is on building confidence, improving well-being and keeping loneliness at bay through an array of social activities and more structured support. The charity is also one of the largest retailers in the NHS, with its network of cafes and shops providing a valued haven in hospitals.

To find out more about becoming a volunteer, volunteer co-ordinator or leader, email or call 01305 236666.