Fears for future of OAP service

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A social group providing vital support for the isolated elderly may have to close if a support worker to help run it is not found soon.

Derbyshire Dales befriending service in the High Peak has been running for 10 years - meeting every Thursday afternoon for two hours.

The ‘flourishing’ group provides help accessing vital services and activities from guest speakers to outings and parties.

However, if a new support worker is not found to replace a member of staff who is leaving the group could close.

Coordinator Yvonne Cohen says this would be a ‘devastating blow’ to its elderly members.

The position - which requires someone with organisation and administration skills and experience of supporting elderly people - has not received any applicants so far.

It is now being advertised with an open invitation.

Yvonne says the group has struggled to recruit staff in the past because it comprises just three hours a week and its geographic location is very specific.

Group sessions vary but routinely include transport for members, refreshments, an activity or speaker and return transport.

The group has helped its members establish and maintain strong friendships and circles of support while suffering increasing frailty or disability - which has meant the loss of all other forms of social contact.

For many within the group this is their only social contact and without it many would not be able to leave their homes.

The group also provides links into the community to help expand social horizons through contact with peer groups, visiting speakers and outings.

n For more information about the role, contact 01433 620 263 or visit ageuk.org.uk/derbyandderbyshire/about-us/work-for-us/job-fairfield.