Every year only 17% of elderly people are in contact with family, friends and neighbours less than once a week and 11% are in contact less than once a month.
Over half (51%) of all people aged 75 and over in the UK live alone.
Two fifths of all older people in the UK (about 3.9 million) say that the television is their main company.
Last year 69% of all elderly people accessing our service felt isolated in some way.
73% of all our elderly service users had more than 2 problems they required help with.
What we will do..
Pop-up Pals will visit lonely and isolated elderly people in their own homes and chat, provide friendship, one-to-one support and help with day-to-day tasks.
Remove isolation: We will organise volunteers to visit each elderly person regularly and chat and provide friendship, and also help & encourage them to access local services such as social clubs or visit the shops or help them enjoy lunch, afternoon tea, a day out or even to volunteer or become mentors themselves and share their experience with us.
Provide support: We will assist by providing instruction on things like - online shopping; Facebook to connect with family and friends; understanding bills; help with housing, debt or consumer problems; budgeting and checking benefits.
Provide practical help: Sometimes where physical illness is a factor many elderly people cannot organise services such as gardeners, or a visit to the hairdressers. We will assist by helping with things like - decluttering, completing forms, writing letters, or running light errands.
Why we are different..
Although there are many brilliant services out there, Pop-up Pals differs in that it offers a whole bunch of skills in one Pal - friendship, support, practical help and also - action!
Our volunteers are not only supporters they are action heroes! They are all trained in a special way - Pop-up Pals volunteers all have special skills such as IT & Computers/Legal/Advice/Training/Health & fitness to name a few.
This means they can provide lots of specialist assistance in addition to friendship and support. This is a double whammy of help! Each elderly person visited will be matched with exactly the right level of help they require.
This is more than just home visiting - Pop-up Pals is a service that provides support, ties everything together and takes action, without the need to access multiple agencies.
It doesn't stop there - every elderly person being helped by Pop-up Pals also has access to lots of our other services delivered by The Mediation and Advice Project CIC i.e. Solicitors, pension experts.
The most vulnerable elderly clients (aged 65 plus) will be identified from the stream of clients accessing our service; from our partners; and from self-referrals from the public.
We will target those disproportionately affected by loneliness – such as the widowed, the physically isolated, people who have recently stopped driving and those with sensory impairments.
The Project will be steered by a focus group of elderly people wishing to help shape the Project for the future.
There will be a dedicated hotline that elderly people can call at anytime throughout the year when they require our Pop-up Pals to “pop-up and pop-in” to visit them when they require company, support or practical help.
The Project will be co-ordinated by a Project worker, who must have the experience of managing a team; ensuring safety and security; allocating work to the appropriate Pop-up Pal; organising a staff rota; processing referrals; measuring the success of the Project; supervising the Pop-up Pals hotline; and advertising the Project.
All of our volunteers have been vetted and DBS checked. There will be a dedicated team of volunteers on hand to deliver this project over a period of 2 years for maximum impact. During the first 2 years of the Project we will train and develop new volunteers to co-ordinate the Project to ensure it is fully sustainable for the future.
A safe pair of hands..
The Mediation and Advice Project is a Community Interest Company which means we work like every other company except we do one thing differently - we work for people not profit.
We have now helped 13,978 people since 2011, and have produced multiple positive outcomes for services users, improving the local community, economy and environment. Mediation: we have mediated over 405 disputes with an average of 92% success rate, resolving issues for over 2000 people. Social welfare advice: since 2011, we have helped clients manage £5.5 million of debt and helped 3,378 people increase their income. We have helped 1675 people keep their homes or find new ones. Training: we have trained over 1450 people in financial capability and money skills and helped 44 people back into work through volunteering support. We have trained 6 people as mentors, who went on to gain employment. Support: 82% of individuals have reported reduced isolation following interaction with our service; 96% improved health and wellbeing; 10 women have been empowered to engage in the wider community; and helped over 5,425 people with multiple problems, relating to employment; benefits; housing; and debts.
Many of those people were elderly and struggling with isolation and loneliness, but one lady called Shirley helped us understand the true value of Pop-up Pals for the future:
Shirley was 89 years old and almost completely deaf and blind. She had not seen anyone for almost 2 weeks and sat in her Kitchen by her gas ring for warmth, frightened of rising fuel costs. Her only company were her Sudoko puzzles which she completed with a magnifying glass, she could not listen to the radio and watch TV and she had no Family to visit. Shirley used a wheeled walking frame to get around and found it difficult to move. Shirley’s garden was growing around her, which was causing her lots of stress and Shirley’s neighbours were upset with her because her fence was broken. When we visited Shirley she was very tearful hoping she would die soon, because living was too sad.
We recognised that many of Shirley’s problems could be resolved by simple practical help and support. We quickly checked Shirley’s benefit entitlements and helped her claim an extra £116.95 per week. We found some unpaid bills Shirley had overlooked and contacted the creditors and they wrote off the outstanding debts. As Shirley had been receiving high gas and electric bills we contacted the supplier. We advised Shirley on energy efficiency measures, and helped her implement them. This included switching the gas ring off which was more expensive, and we helped her switch supplier and to a more affordable tariff. This enabled Shirley to not only have the heating on when she needed it, but to use other rooms in the house, like the lounge in the evening and dining room to have her tea. We called a local partner charity who helped fix the fence and mediated with the neighbours to resolve the dispute. We arranged a gardener to tidy her garden and organised her shed and pots.
The advisers were so, so kind, helpful and knowledgeable and enjoyed them being here. They could not do enough for me. My quality of life has been improved and that’s more than I could have ever hoped for. I don't mind saying…before, I felt tearful all the time. I think I was lonely and everything was on top of me. Now it has all been settled nicely, and with my bit of extra money I treated myself and my friend to a fish and chip supper - my favourite! With The Mediation and Advice Project CIC’s help I feel happier and more comfortable, and can enjoy life. I no longer feel frightened of turning on the heating or looking at the fence and I have extra money to help me get by.
How the money will be spent..
The good news is we already have things in place like:
So all we require is:
- Travel expenses for all of our volunteers to visit as many elderly people as possible.
- Project Co-ordinator to supervise and co-ordinate all our volunteers.
We have worked out our costs based on local bus/train tickets/petrol costs restricted to 0.30p per mile and the local salary of a Project Co-ordinator.
We hope you can help us by funding this new service, and let us assist elderly people just like Shirley who deserve to live a fulfilled life!