Bield appeals for volunteers at West Calder housing development

Bield is calling on locals in West Lothian to help senior citizens get crafty by volunteering at its West Calder housing development.

Stewart Court, a retirement housing development situated in the centre of town is seeking new volunteers to assist with social activities, helping to make a difference to the lives of older people.

The team currently help to organise a host of activities, such as befriending, arts and crafts, lunch clubs and a walking group, but more help is needed.

Joan O’Donnell currently volunteers as a social activities volunteer at Stewart Court, devoting a couple of hours each week to help tenants socialise by organising activities.

Joan has also volunteered as a befriender for one of the tenants for over four years now, providing companionship and a listening ear.

Speaking highly of her experience as a volunteer, Joan said: “I wanted to be a Social Activities Volunteer because I could see a lot of the tenants at Stewart Court were very crafty and good knitters.

“We try to include activities around whatever they’re good at, including adult colouring books and making table decorations.

“The biggest success for me as a volunteer is getting tenants socialising, joining in with an activity or just chatting to each other.

“It’s so rewarding to make new friends and actually see the difference that you’re making to older people’s lives.”

The support of volunteers helps to meet the social needs of Bield’s tenants, assisting them to lead active, independent lifestyles in their later years.

Amy Telford, a Bield volunteer development worker, said: “We’re very lucky to have such a fantastic team of volunteers.

“The support Bield volunteers provide is vital in reducing loneliness and isolation, which can have a negative impact on the wellbeing of older people. They really do help our tenants to live fulfilling lives.

“We offer our volunteers training, support, the chance to learn new skills or develop new ones, and a great social experience. We’d love to hear from anyone who is interested.”