Location: Dorset

About: The scheme was initially set up in response to concern by a local GP that a number of older patients were making repeated trips to the GP and to Accident and Emergency, for reasons which were primarily to do with their isolation.

The scheme is available on a referral or self-referral basis to older people throughout the county. Older people who are referred to the scheme are assessed by the coordinator or a customer support volunteer, in order to work out what kind of support will best meet their needs and wishes. Support is available on an on-going basis, for as long as older people want to receive it.

The scheme offers a range of options including:

  • Home visits
  • Accompanied and wheelchair walks
  • Shopping and general errands
  • Sitting to relieve a carer
  • Dog walking
  • Card and board games
  • Trips out and socialising
  • Reading and help with correspondence.

The scheme is funded by donations and fundraising. It was initially set up using legacy funds. The scheme costs around £7,000 per annum to run (excluding costs for the service manager), and is coordinated and delivered entirely by volunteers who are supported by the part-time service manager.

The scheme has 110 clients, with the majority aged between 80–94 years old. All overheads included, it costs just £3.50 per person each week to provide companionship, encouragement and a supported sense of wellbeing.

Participant Quote:

“My volunteer is a very nice lady and I look forward to her visits. Sometimes we play scrabble and she has taken me shopping, and offered to take me to other places where I might like to go. I count myself lucky to have been given the opportunity to receive visits from a volunteer, it certainly has made a difference to my life.”

Who: Royal Voluntary Service

Royal Voluntary Service Cardiff Gate
Beck Court
Cardiff Gate Business Park
CF23 8RP

Tel: 01305 236666

Web: www.royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk