Nearly thirty teenage students at Birkenhead Sixth Form College are set to dedicate their time to befriending lonely elderly people this winter as part of an Age UK project.
Dozens of the college’s students are volunteers on the telephone befriender service for Age UK, where older people who spend a lot of time on their own can receive the comfort of half hour chats with empathetic and friendly companions in order to combat the feeling of loneliness.
The students, who are all between the ages of 16 and 18, heard about the charitable scheme through Birkenhead Sixth Form College’s enrichment programme but all volunteered off their own bats and will dedicate their own time to help the vulnerable, especially over the Christmas period.
Signing up for the project involves Age UK matching the young people with their older counterparts in terms of shared interests before beginning the weekly phone calls, making a huge difference to the happiness and wellbeing of the older people.
Head Student at Birkenhead Sixth Form College, Holly Brown, is one of the students who has volunteered to become a telephone befriender.
Holly said, “It’s been a really hard year, especially for the older ones and I think that volunteering for Age UK is a really great way to help and comfort those who may feel a little forgotten. Plus, I think we all could use a little wise advice from the older generation – I know I definitely could!”
The college’s dedicated enrichment coordinator, Jordyn Layfield, said, “Age UK said that they’ve never had a cohort of volunteers so big from any school or organisation, and we’re really proud to have so many thoughtful young people at the college, ready to donate their time and care for such a worthy cause.
“Volunteering and taking part in activities outside of the classroom is a vital part of the all-round education we offer and helps to shape the futures of our students. Of course it’s been more difficult this year, but we’ve adapted to doing things virtually exceptionally well and almost seamlessly, so there continues to be opportunities for students to broaden their horizons, and this Age UK project will do exactly that for all of our kind volunteers.”