West Sussex initiative to help against social exclusion
Royal Voluntary Service connects people and helps them overcome isolation
- January 18, 2020 13:30
The population of West Sussex is older than the population of other areas of England. According to some estimations, there are more than 90,000 people aged between 65 and 74 and almost the same number aged 75+. And the projections show that this population will only increase in the years to come.
Most of these people may live in remote areas of the County or feel alone and are not able to take part in many social gatherings or programmes. That is why the authorities started a project to address this issue.
An initiative against social exclusion
West Sussex County Council and the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) implement a scheme called Good Neighbours. It uses volunteers to help people who feel isolated or socially excluded in some way. The help may include just simple conversations or accompanying them on a trip to the shops. The further goal is to help the people find a new hobby and meet people with similar interests through taking part in different local groups and clubs.
The help given is not only physical but also psychological. Many people that are socially excluded feel a lack of confidence and it is very difficult for them to make this first step and approach others. The volunteers of RVS are there to boost their confidence, to show them that they can do more than sit at home and watch TV.
It is also very important to monitor any changes in the health of the Good Neighbour clients, in their environment and home. The work of the volunteers is important to alert the necessary people if they notice something is wrong.
The programme is free of charge for the time of the people but the clients may need to cover costs such as travelling or some club or activity fees that may arise.
Volunteering is quite popular in the UK. Many services use volunteers for different initiatives and schemes who later may become their recruits. Currently, the RVS needs more people who can donate their time and help people to lead a more active and social life. It is also recommended to have a special skill that can be used in their work.
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