Golden Years Edinburgh
This innovative befriending service helps to tackle isolation and loneliness for people over the age of 60. Our free service is delivered by a team of dedicated, trained volunteers who offer encouragement, companionship and support to help older people engage in social, leisure and community activities, with support provided for a period of up to 9 months. Operational since Spring 2017, the service is funded by The Big Lottery for 3 years.
Who benefits from this service?
Clients are referred to Golden Years from health, social care and third sector professionals who have identified an issue with isolation and/or loneliness in the person they have been supporting. In addition the client may also have experience of the following;
- Poor mobility
- Returning home after a recent stay in hospital
- Living distantly from family or friends
- A caring responsibility
- Depression and/or anxiety
- A recent/early dementia diagnosis
Volunteers provide befriending support over a fixed period of time, usually up to 9 months, to help clients achieve personal goals such as increased independence, reduced isolation and sustained engagement with social networks.
If you are a professional and would like to discuss a referral please get in touch with our team.
Please note that this service is not care registered and cannot provide personal care.
The service we provide
Clients are carefully matched with a volunteer who helps achieve personal goals aimed at regaining personal independence and overcoming isolation and loneliness. We offer a small portfolio of services;
Client and volunteer are matched over a period of up to 9 months. The client is supported to achieve personal goals such as getting out-and-about more regularly.
For clients with mobility issues we can provide a telephone service. It is anticipated that the client will be supported to get out-and-about, on occasion, as opposed to the regularity of a one-to-one befriending relationship.
Introductions to activity in the local community
We recognise that some people would simply benefit from a short amount of time to reconnect with their community; to get up-to-date with what’s on and make new connections. This might be a few afternoons over the course of a month or two with support from a volunteer.
We fully recognise the social benefit of engaging with group activity and encourage our clients to link into existing local groups. We also help facilitate the start of new groups where interest/need exists from regular social afternoons to a dedicated walking or craft group.
Our volunteers provide befriending support to clients for a fixed period of time; usually up to 9 months. Within this time the client is supported to achieve personal goals e.g. improved walking confidence, meeting new friends, using public transport, joining a group or club. Volunteers receive a range of training covering core subjects such as boundaries and confidentiality as well as additional training in Dementia Awareness.
We thoroughly value each of our volunteers and want to ensure their volunteering experience is as positive as possible. Full training and out-of-pocket expenses (e.g. bus travel, mileage, tea and coffee) are provided as well as regular support and guidance from a named member of the Befriending Team. We recognise that volunteers choose to give their time for a variety of reasons. Volunteering with the service can provide valuable experience for education and employment purposes as well as being extremely fulfilling and rewarding whatever your reasons or circumstances.
All volunteers must complete an application process as well as a PVG check.
If you’d like to find out more about volunteering with us please call our team -we’d love to hear from you!
T: 0131 475 2434
The Referral Process
There is a high demand for Befriending services and the following referral process will allow us to manage the process as effectively as possible and not keep people on waiting lists.
- All referrals received will receive an acknowledgment and will be reviewed at the end of the month
- At the end of the month we will assess the referrals received that month and decide which ones we can progress; this will be based on our capacity, and those which best match the criteria we have agreed with our funders.
- A letter or email advising of the decision we have made will be issued by the middle of the following month.
We ask you to please consider the following before referring:
- Is the client able to manage themselves? - we do not provide Personal Care
- Can the client be left alone whether in house or outside? We are aware that due to confidence or memory and mobility issues someone may need assistance in returning home, but as the volunteer may need to use the toilet, make a phone call, go to pay for dinner the client will be left alone at times. If this is an identified risk we cannot support them.
- If the client has dementia/memory issues are they able to make arrangements with the volunteer, or is there a family member who can assist, or do they have any memory aids, tools or strategies that work?
- Is the person able/willing to leave the house with the volunteer? We are aware it may take time to build confidence but is this a goal the client would like to achieve?