Connect Education and Care employee is making a difference with Age UK

Tuesday 28th October 2014

A local employee from Shrewsbury-based company WMS has been using her spare time to volunteer with Age UK Shropshire Telford & Wrekin, after becoming a befriender for the charity earlier this year.

Deb Zaza, who works part time in the Finance Department, decided she wanted to do something useful with her time off, and so she applied to become a volunteer befriender.

Deb has been visiting the same lady since March this year – sometimes they go for a walk and have even ventured to the local garden centre for afternoon tea. The visits have made a huge difference, as Deb describes:

“The lady I see is always so pleased to see me. She says she has become much happier, which is extremely rewarding for me. I feel privileged to be a part of the Age UK team and know I am making a difference.”

Although Deb volunteers in her own time, this is a great example of how staff at WMS and Connect Education & Care can get involved in such volunteer projects. The business is part of Connect Group PLC which, as part of its Community Link-Up programme, offers staff time out of the work place to volunteer in their local community via their ‘Volunteer Time’ policy. Deb used the scheme to attend a befriender course, meaning she didn’t have to take any holiday.

Age UK’s befriending service offers a vital lifeline to many older people who may not have any family close by or none at all. Volunteer befrienders like Deb give up their own time to visit these people and form close friendships.

Heather Osborne, Chief Executive of Age UK Shropshire Telford & Wrekin said:

“We really value the time given by all our volunteers. We know from feedback that weekly social visits from a befriender can be a lifeline for an older person who otherwise might not be in contact with anyone for weeks. Sadly there are long waiting lists – and with an ageing population the situation will only get worse, so we urgently need to take action.”

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Kerrie Colford
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