Two new friendship schemes to help Spalding veterans

A Camaraderie Club like this one will open in Spalding this summer. Photo: Katie Ford Photography
A Camaraderie Club like this one will open in Spalding this summer. Photo: Katie Ford Photography
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New friendships are on the horizon for older veterans in Spalding so they do not spend their twilight years alone.

The Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) is reaching out to ex-servicemen and women – and their widows and widowers – so they can be visited at home by volunteers for a weekly chat over a cup of tea.

A second initiative will see a new Camaraderie Club open in Spalding in July or August.

Samantha Halligan, the RVS coordinator for The Veterans in the Community Project, said: “Our first club opened last year in Lincoln and has proved hugely successful, with more than 100 members.

“The clubs are a weekly social club for the older veteran and this is again aimed at reducing loneliness and isolation.

“The volunteers in the clubs are either ex or currently serving military.

“We have now opened two more clubs, one in Sleaford and one in Coningsby.”

The one-to-one befriending service was launched at the beginning of the year.

Samantha said: “We have 21 veterans at the moment who are being seen by befrienders.”

These include a Spalding man of 94 living in a care home, who has weekly visits.

As well as home visits, the befriending service could include accompanied trips to the shops or to the Camaraderie Club.

Samantha said: “The befriender will visit the veteran for a 12-week period and the main objective is to reintegrate the veteran back into the community. This is a bespoke service, as we are aware that one size does not fit all and people’s needs differ.

“Spalding has been highlighted as one of the places with a lot of veterans who are living on their own.

The Royal British Legion sponsors the Camaraderie Clubs and the Armed Forces Covenant sponsors The Veterans in the Community Project.

If you are an older ex service veteran, or a service widow or widower, and would like to use the befriending service please call 01522 305313.

Volunteers who want to become befrienders can call the same number. Volunteers are DBS checked to ensure suitability.