Age UK News Round-up

Age UK News Round-up

The year’s round up and Merry Christmas!
Brian Deeley, CEO

The festive season is often a time when we reflect upon the past year and think about the year ahead. I thought it might be interesting to summarise some of the items discussed at our recent AGM.

An increasingly older population means a growing demand for our services. Obtaining the funding and volunteer resources required for the delivery and development of our work continues to be a challenge. Yet, without your support, we would not be able to provide our services.   There have been many successes, including the introduction of a ‘Home from Hospital’ service…MORE

Spread the word: we need more volunteers!
If you want to volunteer more or know people who might be interested in volunteering, please get in touch or spread the word. We need more of you and in particular:

  • Home Befrienders in Warminster, Westbury, Trowbridge, Bradford-on-Avon, Great Bedwyn, Collinbourne Ducis, East Grafton, Pewsey, Melksham, Chippenham and Malmsbury
  • Telephone Befrienders in Chippenham and in Calne
  • Community Support Workers (including home and telephone befrienders) in Swindon
  • Nail Care Clinic Receptionists in Corsham and Warminster
  • Fitness & Friendship Volunteers in Chippenham, Winsley and Warminster
  • Drop in Café Volunteers in Westbury
  • Home from Hospital volunteers in Devizes, Trowbridge, Westbury, Warminster, Bradford-on-Avon, Wootton Bassett and Cricklade.
  • Volunteer Committee members for the SEEDA Court Day Centre in Bradford on Avon.

For more information: or visit

Help: do you have contact in the local media or county-wide media?
You might have noticed with our facebook page and our ‘role-play’ in Trowbridge that we have been working towards raising our on-line and media profile. Having a presence in the local and county-wide media helps us raise awareness of our services, ensuring that those in need know about them; it also enables us to attract new volunteers and ensure the clients looking forward to a befriender or a home from hospital volunteer don’t have too long to wait. However, personal contact makes it easier to have an article or advert published. If you edit a magazine yourself, know your local parish newsletter editor, have contacts within the local radio, or are very active on social media, could you please contact

Your stories: our longest-serving volunteer in Swindon
We know we are lucky to have great volunteers. But we also have extremely loyal ones! Our longest serving volunteer in Swindon has been a befriender for 32 years!
Rosemarie Phillips has been a volunteer with Age Concern and latterly Age UK Wiltshire since 1983. She is a retired Home Economics teacher who is married to a retired GP and they have a son and daughter. Along with working and raising her family and her Age Concern activities, Rosemarie was also a volunteer with Swindon Well Woman Centre. She is visually impaired and does a great deal to raise awareness around this issue and has been involved in community matters for many years.

Through her 32 years of befriending local people in Swindon, Rosemarie has met many wonderful people including a retired teacher who looked forward to playing a weekly game of scrabble with her, a woman who had served in the RAF during the war years, repairing aeroplanes and subsequently went on to open and run a garage; and a woman who had been in the service to the Goddard family,….MORE

Meet the Befriending team
They are the biggest team at Age UK Wiltshire, working with 147 volunteers. They assess clients’ needs and make sure they match them with a volunteer they will get on with.
If you don’t know them already, here are, from left to right, front to back:
Ann Ballard (Devizes & Melksham), Susan Desrosiers (Chippenham, Malmesbury & Corsham), Sue Sullivan (team administrator), Helen Barbrook (Team Coordinator, Pewsey & Tidworth), Becky McIntyre (Warminster, Westbury, Bradford on Avon & Trowbridge), Freda Ackroyd (Marlborough, Calne & Royal Wootton Bassett).

Befriending and boundaries: how to make the relationship work by Ann Ballard
When a befriending relationship works it is usually enjoyable for both parties. So enjoyable in fact, that sometimes it can be easy to forget that the relationship is ‘artificial’ and needs to work within a certain framework for the safety of both the client and the volunteer to be guaranteed. Ann Ballard, the Befriending Support Worker for the Devizes area notes: ‘We advise all befrienders to use the number withheld code (141) before calling their clients. This ensures that they can protect their own privacy. Similarly, we always recommend to home befrienders not to take their clients to their own homes. Accidents can unfortunately happen, a client could slip on a carpet, be allergic to the cat that had not been mentioned, or spill some tea on the beautiful sofa throw. If they do, then the volunteer is not covered by the Age UK insurance as the boundaries set out in our training have not been respected. This seems harsh, but the befriending relationship works best when it is structured as both the clients’ and volunteer’s interests can be protected.’ If you are unsure about what you can and can’t do with your clients, please contact your support worker.

New! Calne Telephone befriending service – Freda Ackroyd
Our telephone befriending service is expanding in Calne. AUKW has received funding from Calne Lions to deliver a new telephone befriending service to residents in Calne and surrounding villages. The service will run from Calne’s Community Hub on Wednesday mornings from 10am to 12am. If you are interested in volunteering there, know someone who might be or want to use the service, please contact

What to do if your client is lonely at Christmas?
It is that time of the year again when those who are already lonely the rest of the year, tend to be even more so. At Age UK Wiltshire, our Information & Advice team have put together a list of Christmas church lunches and other organisation’s get together for the festive period. If you know your client is likely to spend Christmas alone and would benefit from joining a charity Christmas lunch, or if you know of one organised in your area, please contact or check and amend on-line the Community Christmas lunch map.

Spread the warmth – warm packs still available
Thanks to those of you who have let clients know of our Spread the Warmth campaign. We still have survival packs available for vulnerable clients. They contain a torch, hot water bottle, blanket and warm socks. We also have a limited number of electric blankets for those most vulnerable to the cold.

For more information about the Spread the Warmth campaign, visit our website, or contact your support worker to request an information leaflet, Survival Pack or electric blanket.

Ready, steady, knit: knitting patterns for hand muffs
As part of our Spread the Warmth campaign, we are asking our knitters to knit hand muffs that can be added to warm packs. Visit our website for knitting patterns or contact our office on 01380 727767.

Putting a face on loneliness: AUKW volunteers take part in role play in Trowbridge

On 25th November volunteers, staff and supporters of AUKW gathered in Trowbridge Shopping Centre, ‘the Shires’, to raise awareness of older age and social isolation. Our hope was to raise our profile in the media and attract more volunteers to the befriending service which has waiting lists in Warminster, Trowbridge, Bradford on Avon and Melksham. Volunteers enacted the roles of ‘Ivy’ and ‘Reg’, two older residents who spend their days sitting on their chair with nobody to talk to. The day was very successful and we had the visit of Cllr Helen Osborn (pictured), as well as Cllr Roger Andrews, the Mayor of Trowbridge. BBC radio Wiltshire also attended which resulted in extensive media coverage. We are currently working on a you-tube video with volunteers that we hope to launch next year. If you are interested in being involved, please contact

Coming soon: our new driving policy
Our board is in the process of signing off our new driving policy. We will be in touch by post in the New Year with more information, including a form for you to complete and return.

Our office closing time over Christmas and the New Year
We will be closed from 24th December 12pm and will re-open on 4th January from 9pm.

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