This project will involve a series of free events from May 2017 – March 2018 to understand what attracts people over 50 in Middlesbrough to volunteer and what impact it has on loneliness and isolation. It is supported by Ageing Better Middlesbrough thanks to their Innovation Fund (for more information on the programme and how it could benefit you please see below). The events will include new and different activities, and will be held in new and different places! Some of these will include…
- Heritage crafts like dry stone walling, green woodwork and blacksmithing
- Recording your wildlife memories and wildlife experiences in Teesside
- Trying out more flexible volunteering opportunities like seed collecting
- Away days to green spaces ‘off the beaten track’
- Becoming a wildlife champion and raising awareness of the importance of our natural environment
- Learning how to identify species and carry out local surveys of them
Our charity, and therefore our local wildlife and green spaces, depends heavily on volunteers and although we have increased volunteer engagement and retention over recent years as well as the opportunities available, we have struggled to increase diversity. We want to engage with more people over 50, particularly women and BAME communities, by holding events that will:
- Challenge stereotypes of Wildlife Trust volunteering opportunities as ‘masculine’ and only for people who have a good level of fitness
- Bring existing and potential volunteers together to share experiences, support one another, increase confidence and understanding of opportunities
- Recognising the achievements of older volunteers
- Promote the wide range of opportunities we have for volunteering, as well as the significant social, environmental and personal benefits
The events will recognise many older, and particularly isolated and vulnerable older people do not have access to or do not respond to traditional forms of volunteer advertising. While we have strong networks with local health and social care agencies that can help us reach some of these people there is still a perception you need to be strong and fit to volunteer with us when in fact, many of our projects are developed for people who have varying levels of fitness and ability, and are designed to improve people’s health and wellbeing gradually in different ways.
About Ageing Better Middlesbrough:
If you’re feeling lonely or isolated from others you’re not alone. It affects many people in Middlesbrough. Ageing Better Middlesbrough is a six year, £6 million programme aimed at reducing loneliness and social isolation for people aged 50 and over in Middlesbrough. It’s made up of several different projects and organisations working together to support and empower local older people. We collect and share information about exciting opportunities in Middlesbrough and different ways to connect to your community and enjoy everything it has to offer!
If you’re aged 50 and over and would like to speak to someone, ring us on: 01642 257030 or click Outreach Team to fill in the Referral Form.