Age Concern Gateshead

Age Concern Gateshead Travelling Companion Project

Volunteers transport frail & very isolated older people to visit loved ones in a hospice/hospital/nursing home or to keep their own hospital appointment. It's not just a transport project - our volunteers also support our clients who may be distressed at visiting their terminally ill loved one.

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Registered Charity in England and Wales (702561)

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    Category

  • Health/WellbeingHealth/Wellbeing

    Helping

Location

  • "Harry had weeks to live. I'm in a wheelchair. A taxi was £34. They took me to see my husband in hospital 15 times before he died - such a help."

    — Jean (aged 84)

  • "My husband used to take me to hospital appointments but died last year. I'm blind & get anxious. My volunteeer makes sure I'm safe."

    — Elsie (aged 81)

  • "I can't get out by myself anymore. Only got my sister left so having help to visit her in the hospice is a great comfort."

    — Harry (83)

  • "Harry had weeks to live. I'm in a wheelchair. A taxi was £34. They took me to see my husband in hospital 15 times before he died - such a help."

    — Jean (aged 84)

  • "My husband used to take me to hospital appointments but died last year. I'm blind & get anxious. My volunteeer makes sure I'm safe."

    — Elsie (aged 81)

  • "I can't get out by myself anymore. Only got my sister left so having help to visit her in the hospice is a great comfort."

    — Harry (83)

Situation

We set the project up because older people were contacting us for help to visit their loved one (usually their partner) in a hospice/hospital/nursing home. These are frail & isolated older people living in their own homes, usually unable to use public transport independently and don't have anyone else to help them. In some cases people were having to pay £30 for a taxi &, if you're wanting to visit your terminally ill husband of 60 years more than twice a week, that's unmanageable for most.

Solution

We set up this low cost high impact project in 2005 and we know it works. Trained volunteer drivers transport & escort clients to & from their visit/hospital appointment, supporting them in whatever way needed (eg helping guide them to the right ward, getting them a cup of tea, sitting with them for a chat when they get back home if they've had a distressing visit or received difficult health news themselves). In 2009/10 10 volunteers took 170 frail older people on over 350 journeys.