Our highly successful Space Age Connections Project, which provides support to older people with mild dementia or cognitive impairments is looking to recruit nine new volunteer befrienders. Are you ready to join the Space Age and accept the mission?
Suitable for over 18’s who have 1-2 hours per week spare, love a good chat and are great listeners, this is a fulfilling and rewarding role. Full training is given, and ongoing support is available once you have been matched to a ‘buddy’ as a Connector.
Emma McGonagle, Space Age Connections Co-Ordinator explained:
“In the last seven months we have delivered over 200 hours of volunteering to support lonely and isolated older people across South West Edinburgh.
“All of our volunteers have found it to be an amazing experience. From in home blethers, a cuppa at a local café, trips out to museums or strolls in the park, no matter the activity, one thing that remains the same is the satisfying feeling of giving back and making a difference to a local family.”
Space Age Connections supports people with dementia, those awaiting diagnosis. This can be a real benefit to families, struggling to juggle the demands of work, care and other issues. It offers peace of mind that their loved ones are in safe hands.
One buddy, supported by the service commented what a genuinely uplifting time she had following a trip out. Saying; that it felt so lovely to feel ‘human again, just being able to take part in normal, everyday activities’.
Similar feedback has been received from families. One family member said, ‘Mum is so relaxed when she is with you. She said when she’s with you that she forgets she has a condition, and you have a lovely friendship. This means so much to us as a family, thank you’.
Space at Broomhouse Hub has also been delivering The Beacon Club, a social gathering for people with dementia for almost 30 years. A number of those taking part have also taken advantage of the befriending project while others, referred to the service from community link workers, social work, community mental health teams, unpaid carers, friends, neighbours and the individuals themselves have gone on to join The Beacon Club, giving them a chance to make new friends in a relaxed, safe environment.
Nancy Bryson, Adult Community Services Manager at Space and Broomhouse Hub added:
“The service is all about connecting and empowering, both our buddies and our connectors who both bring something to the table and learn and support each other. That’s why this is such a rewarding volunteer role.
“We are really in need of new volunteers though. We currently have a waiting list of 15 individuals and receive one new referral each week on average. There is such a demand for the service. Dementia can be very isolating with lots of fear and anxiety about going out, especially post pandemic. Space Age Connectors give people the confidence to make new social relationships at a pace that suits them.
“It also means people can continue to live in the communities they know. Safe and familiar environments. With Space Age Connectors and The Beacon Club we can help people live as independently as possible.”
So, can you help an older person feel included and valued? Do you want to learn new skills or improve your CV? Are you looking for a new challenge or would you just like to make a difference in your local community? If the answer is yes to any of these, step onto the launchpad by contacting Emma McGonagle. Email email@example.com or call 0131 455 7131.
For more information on the role, please see the Jobs and Volunteering section of our website where you can download an information pack. As the role involves working with vulnerable people, all volunteers are given a PVG/Disclosure check before taking up a position.