Volunteers urged to reach out to lonely and isolated in Fife’s communities

© DC ThomsonEileen SPence, Angela Brown, Provost Jim Leishman, Janet Milligan and Teresa Naylor at the Care and Share Companionship launch in Kirkcaldy.
Eileen SPence, Angela Brown, Provost Jim Leishman, Janet Milligan and Teresa Naylor at the Care and Share Companionship launch in Kirkcaldy.

A newly launched charity is aiming to “bring a little bit of sunshine” into the lives of lonely and isolated people in Fife.

Kirkcaldy-based Care and Share Companionship will link volunteers with older people who may be suffering in silence, isolated from friends, family and their local communities.

The seed of the idea came from Teresa Naylor as she was enjoying a spring walk surrounded by colourful buds, through Ravenscraig Park.

“I thought how wonderful it was, coming out of the darkness of winter,”she said.

That prompted her to think about establishing the scheme, to help the over-60s and to give carers some respite.

Teresa said she wanted to make people feel they were still important members of the community.

“They may have low self confidence, they may have lost a partner they’ve been with for 50-odd years, they may not have oomph to get out again into the community,” she said.

“It is all about making people feel valued.

“Care and Share Companionship aims to make these people visible again.”

One volunteer, Hazel Blair,  said she was also reaping rewards from spending time with clients.

“I feel it is a privilege to be able to work with people – one women shared her life with me,” she said.

Fife Provost Jim Leishman shared his own highly personal stories of social isolation at the launch event.

“Ten years ago my wife passed away, and there was nothing you can do apart from giving them support and being with them,” he said.

“For the first two months afterwards everything seemed fine, and family and friends come in.

“But then the visits start to drop off and you are sitting by yourself thinking ‘what can I do?’”

The problem of loneliness was brought back to the Provost recently when he lost his sister in law, leaving her husband struggling to cope without her.

He urged potential volunteers to join up.

“We cannot do it all by ourselves – get another person to join in too,” said Mr Leishman.

“Our own time is a gift to someone else – 10 minutes of your time could be like 10 hours to them.”

Anyone who would like to find out more should email careandsharecompanionship@gmail.com.

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