Get volunteering for your mental health and help those who really need it during lockdown. Loneliness and isolation seem to be at an all-time high. We’re all feeling the strain of not seeing people and some people really have no one.
We spoke to Age UK Barnet, about the impact of the lockdown on older people and the volunteering opportunities they have to help. This is by no means the only section of society that is in need of volunteers. Volunteering opportunities around the country are plentiful and varied. NCVO and the volunteering page of GOV.UK are good places to start your search.
The impact of lock down
Lisa Robbins at Age UK Barnet described the impact of lockdown on older people:
“Older people are particularly at risk of loneliness and social isolation because they are more likely to face factors such as living alone, the loss of family or friends, chronic illness, and hearing loss. The pandemic has exacerbated the situation, of course, leaving many older people cut off from their usual network of friends and family. They also have the added anxiety of knowing that for them the risks of catching Covid-19 are higher. In fact, many of the older people we support are afraid of leaving their houses.
Age UK Barnet volunteers, have been making a huge difference to the wellbeing of Barnet’s more vulnerable older people. Our shopping volunteers have been doing regular shops for those who struggle to get out; our befrienders have been tackling loneliness with friendly chats over the phone; and our IT volunteers have been helping people get set up online, guiding them through tasks such as online shopping and banking.”
Volunteering opportunities and their impact
Age UK Barnet have three volunteering options to get involved in during lockdown
This is a telephone befriending service. Volunteers are trained and matched with older people. The volunteer calls the older person they are matched with once a week, or more, by agreement. This services provides emotional support and companionship to isolated or lonely older people.
Volunteers do a weekly shop and check in phone call to an older person. This service is for older people who can’t get out and about, access online shopping and have no family or friends in the area.
This is for the techie volunteer to support older people with their online problems, or helping them get online over the phone, where this is possible. Age UK Barnet have donated laptops as well as dongles to help people get started.
If you want to volunteer
If you are in the London Borough of Barnet and interested in volunteering for Age UK Barnet. You can email Lisa Robbins, Volunteer Manager or call Age UK Barnet on 020 8203 5040
Home or work based in the London Borough of Barnet and interested in other volunteering opportunities on offer in the area? Get in touch with Volunteering Barnet
Not ready to volunteer but want to help
Charities are always in need of fundraising. Why not set yourself or find a challenge and get sponsored. This January Lisa at Rosecroft Health and Safety has signed up to run 50 miles in January to fundraise for Maggie’s Centres. Age UK Barnet has lots on offer too from doing a run to knitting little hats for Innocent Drinks.