I work in the HML Knutsford office as a property manager, but live in Stockport. Outside of work I’m kept on my toes by my boisterous toddler, but also enjoy travelling (as much as my annual leave allows!).
I became involved with Contact the Elderly through a friend who was working for the charity at the time. They were short of volunteers within Stockport and looking to set up a new group so I became the Group Co-ordinator. I’d been looking for an opportunity to volunteer with older people for some time as my grandparents are no longer around and I missed the interactions, stories and chats.
The charity is aimed at combatting loneliness and isolation amongst people aged 75 and over who still live in their own homes. My group is made up of eight guests, all of whom are in their late 80’s and 90’s. Many have little or no family close by and the monthly organised tea parties give them something to look forward to. It’s non-discriminatory in terms of health problems, mobility etc. which is a worry to most guests when venturing out. We’re there to assist and lend a supporting arm, if needed.
Many of the guests have been active in the community at one time or another so it’s nice to be in a position to give back. Last month we had a new gentleman join our group, Basil, after chatting to him at our Christmas party he said he used to volunteer as Father Christmas at the local garden centre for 25 years but had to retire due to ill health (he’s now 89). It turns out that I had visited him and have photos in the family album. My childhood dream of meeting Father Christmas was realised then and there!
It’s given me a greater appreciation of older people and it saddens me that in some cases there appear to be forgotten. With an aging population the problem is only set to worsen and charities like Contact the Elderly are able to grow and reach out.
Rebecca recently arranged a ‘tea party’ on Sunday 14th August, the guests arrived at the wharf for 1.00pm to set sail for 1.30pm and returned at 4.30pm. 5 ladies (guests) and 3 drivers enjoyed the afternoon sailing on the New Horizon canal boat. It sailed from Marple Wharf up towards Bollington and then back again. The sun was shining and they all had a wonderful day.