Residents are being asked to help change the future of loneliness and isolation in the borough and consider volunteering to be a friend to an older resident who is alone.

Following on from International Day of Friendship (30 July), residents are being asked to take 30 minutes out of their week and volunteer on one of the many schemes in the borough that help provide a life-line to older residents.

Richmond upon Thames has some of the oldest residents in the country. However, there are a growing number who are alone or housebound, with no close friends or family. Loneliness is a growing issue and can have a devastating impact on their lives.

One way to help these residents is through volunteering. Could you visit someone who is isolated and housebound just once a week to offer company and friendship? Local charities and voluntary sector organisations are always looking for reliable, compassionate people who can provide weekly visits to people who are socially isolated and often have limited contact with family and friends.

All you need is an ability to listen along with patience, empathy and reliability. You could volunteer for just 30 minutes a week.

Cllr David Linnette, Richmond Council Cabinet Member for the Voluntary Sector, said:

“No one should be lonely. As a society, we all have a responsibility to look out for our neighbour - particularly if they are older.

“There are lots of people who want to volunteer but are concerned that they are too busy and they aren’t able to commit to a regular time or day. However, volunteering doesn’t have to be every week or for any particular number of hours, it can be as little as 30 minutes.

“Being a friend is easy; it is simply getting to know the people that live around you and looking out for each other where you can. From having a chat at the bus stop or over the garden fence, there are so many simple ways you can stay connected and make a difference to someone’s day, whatever their age.

“And, for those residents who can spare 30 minutes a week, please sign up to one of the local schemes available.”

For more information about local schemes, go to:

– from a Richmond Council press release