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Volunteers wanted by Jewish Care Scotland

Last updated: 2003-09-26

Jewish Care Scotland is looking for new volunteers to help some of the 500 or so people it supports in the community each year.

Maureen Solomons, Chairperson of Jewish Care Scotland’s Volunteer Care Agency said: “We are looking for people to give up a small part of their time to become ‘befrienders’ for us.

Because many young people move south and can’t manage to look after their older parents on a day to day basis, older people can sometimes feel isolated if they live on their own.

Even younger people can find it difficult to make new friends if they have a disability or are living by themselves.

Our current team of befrienders visit people in their homes or go with them on shopping and recreational trips - and they are much valued by those they help.

And no matter what services we offer from professional people, there’s no substitute for regular and genuine friendship in our lives.”

Befrienders are trained by Jewish Care Scotland as part of a team of 60 volunteers, who offer help to others for a few hours or so each week.

Added Maureen: “Befriending can be very rewarding for both sides and is often fun, but also occasionally moving and emotional.

It always gives me great pleasure to see our befrienders generating laughter and enjoyment - or just chatting quietly to someone over a cup of coffee.

Befriending is not a new thing – it goes back to the roots of the Jewish Community – and indeed, was partly the basis for the organisation, founded in 1867, which is now Jewish Care Scotland.

As our information video says – ‘To be Jewish is to share a deep sense of community – it has always been that way…’”

Chief Executive Ethne Woldman said: “We are seeking people who are good listeners and enjoy meeting people – people perhaps who would like to put something of themselves back into the community.

Age, social background or education is irrelevant, providing you want to offer a genuinely caring and friendly relationship to those we are supporting.”

Aubrey Green is a JCS volunteer and befriender and former manager of one of Glasgow’s best known Marks and Spencer stores.

Said Aubrey: “I wish I’d done this ten years ago – it’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. I help to look after 40 or so people at the Day Centre every Monday - and I also regularly visit a man in his eighties who is recovering from a difficult hip operation. For example, I take him out to get his hair cut - and I know that just having someone around to help out makes his day. It’s all about love and care - it’s been a fantastic thing in which to get involved. I would recommend it to anyone who can spare the time!”

And professional artist and a grandmother to two youngsters, Laura Harrison said: “I’m a fourth generation supporter of Jewish Care Scotland and I always knew I wanted to help. Befriending enables me to meet such interesting people and some of them have a great wealth of knowledge, even though some also have terrible problems. So I listen to them and learn such a lot. Mind you sometimes that’s because they do all the talking! But I admire the spirit they show - and knowing there’s someone there to listen is a real advantage at a time when you are finding life a bit difficult. I would recommend it to anyone.”

For more information:

Tel: 0141 620 1800
web: www.jcarescot.org.uk