Volunteers are being trained to fight elderly loneliness in the borough.

Waltham Forest Council’s new buddying scheme is designed to fight the rise of social isolation and offer support to the older generation.

The move is part of the authority’s Connecting Communities programmes, which aims to get at least 50,000 people in the borough doing something positive for the community.

The council is encouraging people to build social connections with others, learn new things, keep active, be mindful of others’ feelings and surroundings, and give to others through the scheme.

The aim is to make people feel empowered to make a difference and make the borough a better place to live.

Feedback from local residents has shown social isolation is a growing concern in Waltham Forest, with people seeking opportunities to support elderly and hard-to-reach individuals in the borough.

Social isolation as a key factor in increased levels of depression in those affected, according to research.

Through the scheme, volunteers will be trained to support people struggling with poor mental health and a sense of loneliness.

Once trained, they will become ‘buddies’ to vulnerable adults affected by social isolation, helping them to socialise, exercise and engage with their communities.

Cllr Naheed Asghar, cabinet member for health, said: “Just as we care for our physical health, we must take care of our mental health. We can increase our sense of happiness and connection through volunteering opportunities like the Buddying Scheme, which not only support vulnerable people in the borough, but also support the mental health of those who take part.”

Training will take place at Waltham Forest Community Hub, 18a Orford Road, E17 9LN on June 4, 11 and 18.

To find out more, contact info@wfchub.org or call 020 8223 0707.

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