A volunteer’s perspective

Hello, I’m James, the new Social Inclusion volunteer here at Community Network.

At last, the sun is shining and the mood is warm! In spite of this belated, sunny atmosphere that pulls us out of a long winter of discontent, many pensioners continue to remain indoors, immobile and socially isolated. This month saw the memorial of a high profile pensioner, both revered and despised. But regardless of our personal politics the death of Margaret Thatcher serves to remind us of the importance of older people, the impact they once had and their continued presence and value in society. In spite of innovations in technology and the rapid growth of social media that make connecting with one another easier than it has ever been many, particularly older people, still suffer from social isolation and loneliness.  One study by Age UK reported that 34% of subjects over the age of 65 felt lonely some, most or all of the time.

The Community Network team here in Islington is small, but effective in reaching a large number of elderly people who have few others to turn to. I am fortunate enough to be volunteering in the Social Inclusion team with the cheerful Chris as my guide. Part of my role here will be acquiring feedback from the service users so that we can deliver a better user experience. This has given me the opportunity to converse with people from a diverse range of backgrounds, all of whom are grateful for the opportunity to talk for an hour a week through our telephone groups. I will also source data and research on loneliness and social isolation in the London and Islington area so that donors and interested parties can better understand the health and mental well-being consequences. You will also see me update the blog at some point soon too!

That is all from me for now though. Enjoy the sunshine!