Elderfriends is a befriending service, managed by the Volunteer Centre, aimed at lonely and socially isolated people who are over 50 years old and live in Chesterfield and NE Derbyshire. Volunteers are recruited to befriend people on a ‘good neighbour basis’, and undertake informal training in listening skills, barriers to listening and personal boundaries. The Volunteer Centre has identified a number of typical areas in which help is needed, and as a volunteer, you could find yourself: visiting and keeping someone company, sharing a leisure activity, driving and escorting to places such as shops, doctors, hospitals opticians.
Who can volunteer?
Anyone over 16 who can spare a few hours a month. You’ll need to be patient, friendly, honest and reliable, and in return you’ll receive training, support and travel expenses.
How To Volunteer
If you would like to become a volunteer befriender with Elderfriends, simply click on the link below, which will download the application form. This can then be emailed or posted to us and we will contact you as soon as possible:
Alternatively, you can call us on 01246 276 777 for more details.
Please note you must be over 16 years old to volunteer with Elderfriends.
We receive referrals from individuals, relatives, Social Services, and various health related organisations.
If you know someone whom you feel would benefit from our befriending scheme, then for more information you can contact the Volunteer Centre, call us on 01246 276 777 or click below to download the Elderfriends Referral Form
We have set up Community Cafes in Brimington and Chesterfield. The friendship, tea and coffee groups enable service users to get together on a weekly basis, broadening their social networks, and participating in activities. Volunteers can help run the cafes, chatting to service users, playing games with them or if you’ve got a special skill you may be able to use that.
It was a tremendous shock when, on the anniversary of the NHS, The Volunteer Centre received a letter from the local Clinical Commissioning Group (the body who fund the NHS) that they would be removing funding to all voluntary sector organisations in Derbyshire. This will have a tremendous impact on the lives of lonely and socially isolated people across our area and would seem an extremely short sighted approach.
Several consultation meetings in the area left everyone bemused. Dr Chris Clayton, who has been bought in to administer the cuts, laid out the plans to the general astonishment of the voluntary sector groups in attendance. The money given to the voluntary sector in Derbyshire accounts for just 0.01% of the entire CCG budget and while we aren’t responsible for any of their massive overspend, it would seem that voluntary organisations are being scapegoated as the CCG attempt to claw back almost 50 million.
Dave Radford, manager of The Volunteer Centre said, “I feel very angry, as does everyone, this is a miniscule amount of money and yet will have a profound effect on the lives of elderly and socially isolated people in the area. The Voluntary Sector provide them with untold great publicity and rather than embrace that they are throwing it all away.”
Dave continued, “This reduction in funding has left our project very vulnerable but we will continue to provide a service with the limited resources we have available.”
Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins MP
“The cuts to VCS infrastructure, particularly organisations like The Chesterfield Volunteer Centre and Derbyshire Voluntary Action could have a catastrophic effect on volunteer networks in Chesterfield, which once gone will be difficult to rebuild.”
High Peak MP Ruth George
“These cuts will surely end up costing the NHS more and will also affect the quality of life and valuable relationships volunteers have built up with patients who are mostly elderly, and often vulnerable and isolated.”
Chief Executive of Health watch Derbyshire Karen Ritchie
“Although we have listened carefully to the reasoning behind the Financial Recovery Plan, and appreciate that this is a difficult time for Derbyshire CCG, our conversations thus far have done nothing to allay our concerns, which are essentially two-fold:
- how the plan has been developed and communicated
- how the plan is being implemented.”
Derbyshire County Council Leader Councillor Barry Lewis
“The county council leader has demanded urgent talks with a Derbyshire health chief after learning of NHS plans to cut funding to local voluntary sector organisations.”