Volunteer project to help lonely and isolated older people celebrates its third birthday
A social enterprise run by LinkLiving Ltd is celebrating three years of successfully supporting older people affected by social isolation in West Fife.
RealLiving matches trained volunteers with vulnerable older people to provide person-centred befriending support in people’s homes and in their communities. This gives them much-needed companionship and support to become more involved in their local communities.
As well as one-to-one befriending, RealLiving volunteers also run a weekly social café in Torryburn Community Hall which provides opportunities for developing friendships and offers valuable respite for carers – who are in most cases family members.
In the past year the cafe has built a connection with children from Torryburn Primary school. The children get a lot out of meeting members who tell them about the history of the local area and what things used to be like when they were young. They also share skills such as knitting and enjoy playing board games.
Sylwia Nadolny, project worker, said: “Both the older and younger generation leave the café full of energy and enthusiasm which is wonderful to see.”
The project held a birthday party yesterday at Torryburn Community Centre to celebrate its success with volunteers and members. There were lots of chat, cake and tea with entertainment from Third Generation Singers. The group also raised £80 to go towards transport for its members via a tombola.
Elaine Meakin, project worker, said: “We wanted to celebrate as our volunteers give so much of their time to ensure the increased wellbeing and quality of life of our elderly friends by sharing a wee blether, getting out and about, and having fun and a bit of a laugh.”
Sarah Smith, director of LinkLiving, which is part of the Link Group, added: “RealLiving is a special project which encaptulates much of what LinkLiving does – community inclusion, respectful relationships and the huge value of volunteering.
“I am delighted to celebrate the fantastic work carried out by staff and volunteers and we were all brilliantly entertained by RealLiving members.”