Could you give up an hour of your week to help keep ‘vulnerable’ people out of hospital?

Bev Richards is a volunteer in North Somerset for the Good Neighbours scheme.

Bev Richards is a volunteer in North Somerset for the Good Neighbours scheme. - Credit: Sub

A charity which aims to prevent ‘vulnerable’ older people from being admitted into hospital has appealed for volunteers in North Somerset to come forward.

The Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) is looking for people to get involved with their Good Neighbours Service – a scheme to help older people live independently by offering practical and emotional support.

There are currently 100 people on the area’s Good Neighbours scheme and 48 people on the waiting list.

People are referred to the scheme by their GPs, who identify those who are at risk of ending up in hospital within the next year.

A spokesman from the RVS said: “Good Neighbours helps counter social isolation and the service can act as a pre-emptive step to keep those who are vulnerable out of hospital.”

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The service does this by providing a friendly face to its users, who help people get out of the house, eat better and socialise.

The spokesman added: “We also make sure older people are calm and well informed before they have appointments or a stay in hospital, and we will check they are okay when they get home.”

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Bev Richards, aged 29, has been a volunteer for the charity for a couple of years.

She said: “I am passionate about volunteering, as I have always believed in giving what you can spare if it can benefit someone.”

Bev gives up an hour of her time every Monday to enjoy a tea and a chat with an older lady who lives on her own and can often go days without seeing anyone.

She said: “It gives her something to look forward to and both of us the opportunity to engage with someone from a different generation.

“It is wonderful knowing such a simple act provides much needed companionship and I am proud to be able to do it.”

The charity and scheme are entirely funded by private donations, such as Cosyfeet – a footwear company based in Somerset – which has donated more than £6,000 in the past year.

Cosyfeet’s Jo Price said: “Every year we support a charity close to our hearts.

“We are passionate about supporting community initiatives to help older people.”

The company donates a small percentage of each sale to the scheme in the hope it will continue to help volunteers engage with their community.

To get involved, visit

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