Three WRVS social centres set to open in Berwickshire

The WRVS are appealing for volunteers to help deliver vital services for older people in Berwickshire, with three social centres due to open in the region before Christmas.

As part of Scottish Borders Council’s implementation of Transforming Older Peoples Service, the WRVS is taking on an increased role in making sure that the Borders is a great place to grow old.

WRVS Community Services is working to help reshape older people services in the Borders, and in partnership with SBC, is launching the new social centre service in the area.

A spokesperson for SBC said: “As part of the implementation of Transforming Older Peoples Services we are working in partnership with the WRVS to enable more people with lower level needs to get involved in activities in their immediate localities.

“The council will continue to run day care services for people who have been assessed as requiring more intensive support which will assist individuals to retain their independence in their own homes.”

Elderly people with low level needs can attend WRVS social centres, increasing enhanced independence.

WRVS local service manager Margaret Urquhart explained: “Social centres are community based support which fit in well with the Transforming Older People’s Services, are volunteer-led and provide energised, fun filled days through interaction with the service users.

“WRVS volunteers are at the heart of what we do and have been instrumental in the shaping of the new social centres by devoting their time to the elderly in the community. Many of our volunteers get as much enjoyment, confidence building and learning new skills from being at the centre.”

She added: “Social centres are truly community spirited projects.”

Centres are currently operating in Tweeddale and in Roxburgh, but further expansion is planned in the next month with centres due to be established in Duns, Eyemouth and Coldingham before Christmas.

“Our social centres are underpinned by a preventative approach reducing isolation, encouraging interaction and stimulation and supporting independency,” continued Ms Urquhart. “We will be opening centres in Berwickshire in Duns, Eyemouth and Coldingham before Christmas, and if you have a few hours to spare a month then we would like to hear from you. We are flexible in our approach to volunteering as everyone has something to give, and we have a wide range of volunteers from differing backgrounds and needs. Assistants at the centres help with serving lunches and with activities.”

There will be 22 social centres across the Scottish Borders, supporting people over the age of 55 and providing opportunities for improved health, well being, social inclusion and independence, and addressing loneliness amongst this sector of society. The centres are designed to encourage people to live independently and live active healthy lives.

Ms Urquhart added: “WRVS charity provides a vital link to the wider community and as we move through challenging years these services will become even more vital to maintaining the quality of life of our elderly and help them live the life they want.

“Through our stakeholders NHS Health Improvement we are able to provide good information and encourage healthy eating, exercising and provide a range of services through Allied Health Practitioners.

“WRVS assist in providing alternative resources for the elderly such as Lunch Clubs, where they can meet for a healthy meal, chat and improved social activity with the assistance of WRVS volunteers.

“There is also a range of senior citizen clubs throughout the region where people can meet for entertainment and a community get-together.”

WRVS also help the most vulnerable members of society through its Volunteer Community Transport service which supports older people and people with low mobility to get out and about in the local communities, using volunteer drivers in their own cars, and is looking to recruit more volunteers in the Berwickshire area to match the growing demands of its service.

A new shopping service will also provide a vital service to elderly, housebound and disabled people living in Berwickshire, with volunteers set to provide a once a week service when they will collect customers’ shopping lists and orders will be delivered on a nominated day.

WRVS volunteers commit their time to community projects, from a few hours a month to a few days a week to fit in with their home and family lifestyles. It aims to help make the Scottish Borders a great place to grow old. If you would like to help them achieve this aim by volunteering, (even a few hours a month can make a huge difference) or if you would like further details on any of our services then please contact Margaret Urquhart, WRVS local services manager on 01835 864789 or email margaret.urquhart@wrvs.org.uk.