#2016hours: Why '˜lifeline' social club makes such a difference to people like Emily

Emily Pritchard at the social group ran by CARE (Community Action for Roundhay Elderly) in Leeds.  Picture Tony JohnsonEmily Pritchard at the social group ran by CARE (Community Action for Roundhay Elderly) in Leeds.  Picture Tony Johnson
Emily Pritchard at the social group ran by CARE (Community Action for Roundhay Elderly) in Leeds. Picture Tony Johnson
When Emily Pritchard first attended the social club ran by the Royal Voluntary Service in Roundhay, Leeds, she wasn't sure it would be for her.

But six years later, it has become “something to look forward to” and a solid date in her diary.

However, were it not for the small group of volunteers who make it possible - it, and many other “lifeline” services across Yorkshire would not be able to run.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

As part of the Loneliness: The Hidden Epidemic campaign, the Yorkshire Post has joined together with the Royal Voluntary Service to call on our readers to donated a combined 2,016 hours to services that help lonely or socially isolated older people across Yorkshire this year.

Since we launched #2016hours, we have profiled the hard work of volunteers across the region, providing friendship and comfort to those who may not be able to leave the house as much as they used to, or help to run services like luncheon clubs, social groups and even hospital cafes to ensure that people have somewhere to go in their time of need.

Community Action for Roundhay Elderly (CARE) offer a variety of services and activities for people over 60 in the Roundhay, Oakwood, Moortown and Brackenwood areas of Leeds.

Each Thursday, the CARE Connect Club gives around 30 people the chance to get together at Lidgett Lane Community Centre. Mrs Pritchard, 83, is one of them.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

She said: “There’s something different every week, whether it’s a singer, a speaker, or my favourite, board games or a quiz.

“It’s nice to be with other people and it’s something to look forward to every week, especially when you live alone like I do.

“I’ve made some great friends and we chat about our lives, whatever news we have, or if we have any problems.

“But it wouldn’t be possible without the volunteers. I get picked up by the access bus and at the club, they are friendly and there to help. They make you feel like you mean something.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

CARE currently have vacancies for a range of volunteer roles, from admin support in the office, to those who meet older people to find out how they could be helped by the Royal Voluntary Service.

It also needs help to run the CARE Connect Club, driving members to and from activities, running social groups and also with its Good Neighbours befriending service.

Like many roles in the Royal Voluntary Service, roles can be flexible about what time and skills you have to offer.

Service manager for CARE, Andrew Parkin, said: “A lot of the people who attend the social group have problems getting out of the house and keeping in touch with people, so it’s one of the few social outlets they have.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“At the Club itself we have five volunteers who help set up the room, make tea and coffee, and help to organise future events. But this is just one of the things we offer, We also have a befriending service and people who drive people to and from the events. It’s vitally important to help get people there who wouldn’t be able to make it otherwise.

“The benefits in those who come along are clear to see, We see improvements in mood in people who have been stuck in the house, and we’ve had numerous positive comments from people who have joined in the last six months or so about what a lifeline it has become.”

If you can help CARE, call 0113 8873597.