A charity which supports tens of thousands of older people across the Republic has appealed for more people to get involved in its local communities as National Volunteer’s Week gets under way.
Organised by Volunteer Ireland in partnership with the Network of Volunteer Centres and Volunteering Information Services, the week is dedicated to highlighting volunteer work across Ireland.
More than 1,500 volunteers with Alone make over 72,000 visits to older people each year and its chief executive, Seán Moynihan, described involvement as an invaluable service to the community which could keep all those taking part “active and help to build stronger communities and change lives”.
He said it was impossible to “put a price on the support and benefit that volunteers bring” and he stressed that as the Irish population ages “volunteers will be more vital than ever to help to combat loneliness and the issues we face as we get older”.
“What is so special about volunteering is the benefits it brings to both involved, particularly the relationship between the volunteer and older person,” he said.
Alone volunteer Josephine Lennon said she was involved because she believed that "building a friendship with an older person is an invaluable gift not only for the older person but also for the volunteer".
She said spending time “on a regular and ongoing basis with a person is a simple act”.
“Listening and chatting, in an atmosphere of respect and kindness, is at the heart of each visit and such a pleasurable and rewarding activity. In fact it is a privilege to get the opportunity to make a small difference in another person’s life.”