Belfast Telegraph

Neighbours urged to befriend OAPs

Community conscious neighbours have been urged to give up an hour to help out older people living in their area.

The Belfast Central Mission (BCM) is on the hunt for volunteer "befrienders" to pay a visit to pensioners who are in need of some company.

Whether it is joining them for a walk, sorting out their weekly shop or just dropping by for a chat, willing recruits are needed throughout the city.

Isabella Young, who is 98, explained how important her befriender Kathleen Whitten is to her.

"As I am in a residential home, I see other people with streams of family visiting them and unfortunately, as my niece and her family live so far away, I do not get any visitors," she said.

"BCM paired me with Kathleen, who visits me once a week and really gives me something to look forward to. As I am 98 years young, we unfortunately can't get out and about to meet, but if I was 10 years younger I would be out meeting her in a cafe for a cup of tea."

Mrs Whitten said she gets a lot out of the time she spends with Mrs Young.

"I wanted to volunteer some of my time for something worthy and I honestly say that I too look forward to that one hour a week.

"Mrs Young is a character and tells some great stories and I really enjoy our time together."

Lord Mayor of Belfast Pat Convery will meet members of the current volunteer befriender programme on Monday to help launch the latest recruitment drive.

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