18:48 Friday 03 January 2014

Burton charity is vital for lonely older people

Written bySARAH BOULD

LONELINESS among older people hits a peak in January according to the Department of Health.

As a result people are being urged to volunteer to help combat the epidemic of isolated pensioners.

The Burton branch of Age UK provides the town’s older generation with a range of options where they can meet up with other people.

For example it provides services including a luncheon club every week day.

Lisa Beard chief officer at Age UK, based in Union Street, said: “Loneliness is a massive issue at the moment.

“Older people don’t like to trouble people, they don’t like to bother people. That’s why neighbours should knock on their door.

“Charities like ours are about spreading the word and making them feel they are not being a burden.

“The luncheon club is brilliant. It gives them the talk opportunity to talk to people the same age as them.

“It can be difficult to get people to understand that coming here opens up a whole new world for them.

“It prevents people going into care homes, they know they have got someone to talk to.”

There are 150 people that use the services in East Staffordshire.

Many of these are referrals from agencies, or they hear about the charity from other people, or talks in the community.

There are always volunteers needed in Burton, For example people are needed to provide transport to and from the centre and to hospital appointments.

“Lisa added: “We have a great team that give great help to people.

The Government’s care and support minister Norman Lamb has led calls for more people to volunteer to help elderly people in 2014.

He said: “Many older people will be facing a lonely January, spending days without seeing or speaking to anyone. Some may have even spent Christmas day alone.

“Every one of us can take action to combat loneliness. “

At the beginning of last year, 6.2 million people said they were planning to try something new and volunteer, according to research.

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