FOR many, the World Cup is an opportunity to get together with friends and family, sharing the highs and lows of the competition.

At this time, spare a thought for older people, many of whom see their TV as their only friend.

One in 10 say they are always lonely. This may be because they have no family or they may have lost a much-loved wife or husband. Mobility problems may mean they struggle to get outdoors, leading to little human contact for weeks on end. This can lead to loneliness, isolation and despair.

But it doesn't have to be that way. As an organising volunteer for Independent Age, the UK-wide charity which provides lifelong friendship, practical help and financial support to older people on very low incomes, your skills, ideas and enthusiasm could help brighten the lives of older people.

You'll help us recruit and support our volunteer visitors, who visit the people we support in their homes, and provide vital human contact.

If you think you have what it takes to help recruit, support and motivate other volunteers and have input on fundraising ideas in your area, then we would love to hear from you.

You will have the full support of your local Independent Age area manager and a friendly team, who will be on hand to help and advise you every step of the way.

This is a fantastic and rewarding opportunity for someone who has got some time to spare, is proactive, supportive and committed to making a positive difference to the lives of older people.

It could enable you to develop new skills or make use of your professional skills in a voluntary capacity.

Allowing someone to share experiences, thoughts and memories - or simply popping over to share the emotion of a game - can make the difference from a bare existence to feeling valued and part of the community.

If you think you would be suited to becoming an organising volunteer and have about one day a fortnight to spare for Independent Age, please contact me.

CLARISSA BURGESS, area manager for Central England

01234 708 246 Email Clarissa.Burgess@