Help make Hertfordshire less lonely

PUBLISHED: 12:47 05 January 2017 | UPDATED: 12:47 05 January 2017

Cllr Teresa Heritage

Cllr Teresa Heritage

Archant

Volunteers across Hertfordshire are making a big difference by giving up their time to help tackle loneliness, which can be as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day according to the county council.

​​Coupled with isolation, the cold and wintry conditions and shorter days mean that many already feel in poor health at this time of year.

One million older people in the UK suffer chronic loneliness, with half of those over-65 (52%) missing simply being with someone, a recent study by the Campaign to End Loneliness has shown.​

​​​County councillor Teresa Heritage said: “Volunteers make a big difference to individuals and communities in a number of ways, taking time out to spend with people who might otherwise be lonely or contributing to a range of other essential services can improve lives greatly.”

She added: “Volunteering is also a good opportunity to meet new people locally and get to know your community better. It can also help you demonstrate your skills and pave the way to a new career.”

Christina Hammond, 56, who has spent nearly 10 years as a volunteer for the 10 to 3 Club in Hitchin, run by Age UK, said: “I’ve always loved chatting to older people and this seemed like an ideal position. In fact, one of the things we enjoy most is singing. We also have reminiscing days themed around school, work or perhaps experiences in wartime.”

Last year the county council launched its campaign - Hertfordshire Year of Volunteering - which is supported by a range of organisations from across the county, including district councils, #TeamHerts and Hertfordshire Sports Partnership (HSP).

These organisations and many others from both the public and voluntary sectors work closely with volunteers each and every day.

For more information about Hertfordshire Year of Volunteering and to find a volunteering opportunity that works for you, go to www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/volunteering.

You can also search for #hertsyov on Twitter

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