No one should be alone at Xmas...

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As part of Age UK’s ‘No one should have no one at Christmas’ campaign, Heathfield’s Age UK charity shop is appealing to local residents who would like to connect with their community through volunteering to get in touch.

Age UK Heathfield is hoping to attract new volunteers who would like to meet new people and have a few spare hours to offer each week, either behind the scenes or on the shop floor.

As well as helping the charity generate much needed funds to support older people, Age UK hopes that it can reach out to older people seeking new challenges and companionship through volunteering.

In a recent survey, one third of Age UK volunteers said they volunteered in a shop because they enjoy socialising and meeting new people. Volunteering is a great way to form new friendships, learn new skills and feel part of a team – all helpful ways to combat loneliness.

Stewart Cox has been volunteering in an Age UK shop for 16 months and says it has been enormously beneficial. “It’s got me back into meeting new people,” he said. “Every day is a good moment. I didn’t realise how lonely people were, especially the older people that come into the shop. I get a chair and put it next to the till and have a chat. I think that’s what Age UK is all about.”

New research from Age UK reveals that almost a million people aged 60 and over feel lonelier at Christmas time, with those who are single, separated or widowed feeling it the most.

Steve Wooldridge Head of Retail Operations at Age UK urges anyone with a few hours to spare and who would like to meet new people, to join their team. For information about volunteering with Age UK shop in Heathfield, call Fern Cameron on 01435 866480.