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Help an older person get back on their feet by volunteering

A NEW initiative which involves older people in Lambeth supporting other older people who have been victims of mistreatment and abuse is seeking volunteers.

The Lambeth Safeguarding Adults Partnership Board is supporting the national charity Action on Elder Abuse to set up this scheme in Lambeth. This scheme is only the third of its kind in Britain following successful pilots in Suffolk and Cambridge.

The volunteering programme matches older people living in Lambeth with other older people who have had experience of abuse and mistreatment to befriend them and help them get over the impact of it.

This search for volunteers coincides with other activity happening in Lambeth as part of the events to mark World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (June 15).

Lambeth Safeguarding Adults Board, a partnership of agencies, including Lambeth Council, NHS, Lambeth Police and others, are using this international awareness event to reiterate its message that it’s everyone’s business to stop adult abuse.

Older people and their carers are invited to an event at St Thomas’ Hospital on June 15th where they can receive support and advice about living independently in safety. Stallholders will include the police, Lambeth trading standards and NHS Lambeth, and people can get advice on falls prevention, protecting your money, crime prevention and others.

Councillor Jane Pickard, Deputy Cabinet Member for Older People, said: “We are delighted to be working with Action on Elder Abuse to set up our new ‘buddying’ scheme, which aims to befriend older people who have been affected by mistreatment and abuse with people who can support them back on their feet. The pilot schemes were very successful and we hope to replicate that in Lambeth.”

Gloria Eveleigh, Action on Elder Abuse Project Coordinator, said, “We really appreciate the support we are receiving from the Lambeth Safeguarding Adults Board to set up this new AEA Lambeth Group.  Older people in the borough who have experienced abuse deserve the opportunity to recover from its effects, and who better to help them than other older people living in their own community.  We know that the ‘buddying’ process works.  We also know that the volunteers experience a huge sense of satisfaction and achievement when they see the person they have been working with regain their confidence, independence, and ability to protect themselves in the future.  We very much hope that Lambeth’s older people will step up to this challenge and want to become part of this pioneering Government funded project”

The buddying programme also ties in Lambeth Council’s journey to become a co-operative council as it puts the community at the forefront of delivering crucial services.

In addition, as part of World Elder Abuse Day, a hard-hitting poster campaign was launched.

The series of black and white posters carry images of people in distress alongside the headline “If you suspect abuse, tell us” and tell the stories of people who suspect a friend, neighbour or relative is being abused.

The messages on the posters describe some of the most common types of abuse experienced by older people and other adults that are vulnerable (including people with physical and learning disabilities, and people with mental health issues), like theft, harassment, intimidation, threats and neglect.

The messages are:

“She is locked in her home all day – I can hear her crying”

“He boasts about taking the old lady’s pension so he can buy drinks for his friends”

“She uses his disability benefit to fund her social life”

“People come in and out of his flat day and night, I can hear his screams”

The posters have been displayed on bus stops, at libraries, leisure centres, GP surgeries and other public buildings in June to coincide with World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15.

If people suspect someone is being abused, they can report it confidentially on 020 7926 5555 or the Police on 101.In emergencies, dial 999. For more information about safeguarding adults, visit our website www.lambeth.gov.uk/safeguardingadults

END

 

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