Getting out and about with good friends

Service users on day drip to Painshill

Some of the older people we work with via Visiting Friends had a great day out recently at Painshill, a beautiful award-winning 18th century landscape garden in Cobham, Surrey.

A big ‘thank you’ was due to Affinity Water, who have given us £2,500 per year for the last two years for trips and outings in the Elmbridge area. Affinity Water representative Geoff Spiller and a photographer joined the outing, to see what a difference their support makes to our Visiting Friends service, which works to overcome loneliness and isolation experienced by so many older people within the local community.

Visiting Friends Volunteer Befriending Development Manager Sandra Smook said: “I was very glad that Affinity Water were able to see us in action; to understand some of the challenges – such as mobility issues – that older people can face on outings, but also to get a good sense of how much these outings are appreciated. The staff at Painshill were also superb, providing us with a buggy and very knowledgeable volunteer driver to take us through the park.”

Ron, aged 85 years said, “It was absolutely beautiful, what a fantastic day out, being able to go around on the buggy was wonderful. It’s funny, I have lived in this area all of my life and I have never been to Painshill Park, it was fantastic. Thank you all so much.”

Volunteer Pauline Crinall, who lives in Hanworth Park and who has been a Friends of the Elderly Visiting Friends volunteer for six years said: “I enjoy visiting older people in their homes, getting to know them and talking to them, but often they can feel stuck inside four walls, and often their mobility is limited, so these outings really do make a tremendous difference to them. By the time we were going home, everyone was chatting away about what they had seen and done.”

Group Fundraising Manager Gemma Leary adds: “To add to this lovely piece, we’re delighted that Affinity water have just agreed another gift for this year to support Visiting Friends!”