We need your help to make 100 older people happier this winter.
There are thousands of older people in Somerset and North Somerset who are suffering with the misery of loneliness and this can make them feel that life is not worth living.
One of these was Jean (aged 86) and here is her story:
"I came down to Somerset with my husband when he retired. Unfortunately he took very ill and died. I was left alone. I had no relatives and no friends here.
Life was not worth living. Loneliness is a disease that grows. The lonelier you get the more dispairing you get and I think that loneliness is the worst thing that can happen to anyone.
It's almost like being sentenced to life imprisonment.
Your home becomes a prison.
Silence becomes a real thing.....You can feel silence.
There is no other voice.
Can you imagine sitting
day, after day,
after day, after day,
and never speaking a word?
You need help.
You cannot get out of it by yourself.
Then this young lady came out from Age UK Somerset's Befriending service.
She was very kind. She listened to me and gradually I got more confident.
She came every week and now she has become not just a befriender, but a friend.
Now I have a friend and we go out for meals, we got to the cinema or we go down into town.
You need someone to care about you and now I do.
From living within four walls I now live out in the world again. I now live a totally different life."
This project is part of our 100 for 100 campaign. We are aiming to find 100 new volunteers to share a little bit of time to help reduce loneliness and brighten the lives of 100 older people in our areas of Somerset and North Somerset in time for Christmas. If you could Volunteer, or would like to find out more please visit: www.ageuksomerset.org.uk/jeans-story
But if you can't volunteer because you don't have spare time, or you don't live in the area we would still really appreciate your help. Our Befriending service can't run without donations. A pledge of £10 would cover the travel costs of a volunteer to make one visit.
Our target of £1,000 equals 100 new visits to those older people feeling lonely and isolated in the area.