The Mearns & Coastal Healthy Living Network which works in partnership with statutory and voluntary organisations to deliver important local services to older people is finding it difficult to continue to meet demand for its services due to a shortage of volunteers.
The organisation runs a range of services and activities for older people in the area, including help with shopping and transport, exercise groups, lunch clubs, computer classes, walking groups, a group for people with dementia, a handyperson service and a gardening service.
It is used by 150 older people a week and is funded by a range of sources, including grants, contracts and its own income generation and fundraising.
From 2002 to 2007 the organisation worked in Laurencekirk and the Mearns but early in 2008 they started working in the coastal communities north of St Cyrus and more recently this was further expanded to include Portlethen, Stonehaven and surrounding areas.
The organisation benefits from great community involvement with over 60 volunteers having been involved in providing services and activities. For various reasons including some volunteers retiring and the expansion of the geographical area that the organisation covers, there is a real shortage of volunteers.
Ed Garrett, the project manager says: “I think what we do is really needed, especially with an increasingly ageing population, and we should be looking to expand what we do. Particularly in a rural area like this there are lots of quite isolated older people and this project has really helped them to get out and about, joining in activities and going to the shops and so on.”
Mearns and Coastal Healthy Living Network are particularly keen to involve all age groups as volunteers. Volunteering is about giving a bit of your time to help others, but it’s also a lot more than that. Volunteering gives you a chance to share a hobby or skill with others, learn new skills, build your CV or change career, meet new people, increase your confidence and have fun.
All volunteers receive regular training and support as well as being paid expenses, such as travel.
How much of a commitment you want to make to volunteering is your choice. It can take up as much or as little of your time as you want.
If you are interested in finding out more about the volunteering opportunities at Mearns and Coastal Healthy Living network, please contact: Ed Garrett or Nikki Lorimer
Mearns and Coastal Healthy Living Network
44 High Street
Tel: 01561 378130