EVERYONE needs a good friend – and a Holmfirth group has plenty of them.
The Friend to Friend group gives people who live alone the chance to get out and meet other people.
But they couldn’t do it without the volunteers and there’s 50 who have proven vital in getting older and isolated people out and about.
Based at the Phoenix Community Centre, Friend to Friend provides activities for elderly people to help combat isolation and loneliness.
Among the activities is a monthly meal, a history group, project group where they do arts and craft activities, armchair tai chi, and summer walks.
And their work at this time of year is as vital as ever before – development worker Jane Burlington said: “Christmas is traditionally a time for families and friends to get together and enjoy each other’s company, but unfortunately not everyone will be so lucky.
“For older people living on their own Christmas and winter can be a lonely time of year and a period to be dreaded.
“Older and less advantaged people who usually depend on a variety of services may find these limited due to the bank holiday or poor weather conditions.
“This makes it a very difficult time for socially isolated people limited by illness and disability, which is why the charities based in and around Holmfirth have found it vital to pull together and combine forces to ensure that services are not only available through the Christmas winter period, but that transport is provided for those who would otherwise find it difficult due to poor mobility to get to these clubs.”
Over Christmas the charity’s volunteers will be giving up their time to ensure isolated people aren’t stuck at home.
Jane added: “Our groups offer, for many, the only opportunity to socialise. Most of our members are unable to access public transport and rely on us to provide safe, accessible door to door transport.”
Together with the Hepworth volunteers who are part of the WRVS, Kirklees Good Neighbours and Holmfirth Parish Church, Friend to Friend helps people aged over 65.
“All the volunteers from all three organisations are just wonderful,” Jane added. “They give up their time to provide the older people with transport, group activities and even catering, all with warmth and a smile.
“We couldn’t manage without them.”
If you can volunteer and make a difference contact Jane Burlingham on 01484 687773.
Tomorrow we look at the history and work behind the Friend to Friend calendar.