Almost 100 Sheffield residents have volunteered their services to support the elderly amid the third coronavirus lockdown.
The Sheffield Churches Council for Community Care (SCCCC) in collaboration with the Sheffield Star launched the ‘Buddy Up’ scheme to alleviate loneliness and isolation for those without company two weeks ago.
On the formation of the scheme, SCCCC Fundraising Communications and Marketing Officer Ericka Hill said: “I saw a post from Nancy Fielder from the Star who felt really terrible that social interaction for older people was being restricted due to the pandemic. I retweeted and got in touch and she [Fielder] said she’d love to work with us. We’re really grateful to the Star.”
The SCCCC currently operate various schemes to aid the elderly, such as the ‘100 club draw’ as well as the ‘penpal’ and the ‘good neighbour’ schemes, the latter of which has been temporarily paused in favour of the ‘Buddy Up!’ initiative as a consequence of the government’s social distancing measures.
A wide demographic of adults have involved themselves to assist the charity with phone calls, from students – who were missing interaction with their own grandparents – to retired pensioners. Participants have been both male and female and across a multitude of ethnicities.
Ms Hill added: “We have definitely seen an uptake on our services since the COVID pandemic, such as transporting people to and from hospital. The Buddy Up scheme has been phenomenal for us. We have received wonderful feedback.”
In a COVID-free world, the SCCCC plans to expand their services to offering activities such as coffee mornings for their beneficiaries. The SCCCC’s spokesperson also revealed a will to expose older people to technology.
Ms Hill said: “Older people are often scared of technology because they think they will be scammed but it’s so important to keep them connected with the outside world.”
The SCCCC stressed they all always looking for new volunteers and fundraising suggestions. Anyone wishing to partake or donate should visit scccc.co.uk or phone (0114) 250 5293.