A SCHEME which helps the elderly, disabled and housebound is calling for more volunteers.
The Volunteer Link Scheme, which was launched in 1994 and makes over 2,000 visits a year, has more people on its waiting list than helpers and is asking people to give up an hour or two of their time to make a difference to someone's life.
New campaign manager Lisa Butler, who has been a volunteer for two years, said: "I started volunteering because my grandad, who was deaf and blind, had one and I could see the difference it made to him. Also I wanted to put something back. You can just sit and chat, go for a walk or just stand in for a carer to give them some time off. It can be a life-saver to a lonely person or someone who is isolated. They might go out for a pint of milk and not talk to anyone else all day. It can also help to give an older person their confidence back. We get great feedback about how much this means to people."
She said the visits were becoming more vital as more community centres were being cut, giving the elderly fewer social outlets. She added: "Volunteers can be anyone just prepared to sit and talk. They just need to be friendly, patient and kind. This is particularly important coming up to Christmas when a lot of elderly people tend not to cook for themselves."
Referrals come from a number of sources including social services, local housing associations, other voluntary agencies and self-referral. Once a referral has been made, the Volunteer Coordinator makes a home visit to check their needs and match them with a suitable volunteer. Volunteers, who have to be over 18, do not provide hands on care or do the weekly shopping, cleaning, decorating or gardening. All volunteers are CRB checked, given training and ongoing support.
Anyone interested should contact Amelia Clarke on: 020 8832 7422 or look at the website for more information: www.volunteerlink.org.uk