Helping alleviate isolation as a result of bereavement, relocation or change of circumstances.
SOP was founded in 1982, we are a registered charity aiming to alleviate loneliness and isolation often experienced by older people living on their own.
We primarily support people in the Harrogate and Knaresborough district.
At Supporting Older People we:
- Assess and match older people with volunteer visitors
- Organise social activities, outings and events
- Liaise with our family, statutory agencies and voluntary organisations
- Host events where volunteers and the people we support join together, these include our Christmas party, quizzes and International Day of Older Persons’ Lunch
We are a team of three part-time staff, managed by a board of trustees.
Director: Kate Rogata
Befriending & Activities Manager: Julia Lightfoot
Administrator: Lorna Daniel
What We Do
Our core work is our befriending scheme. We recruit and support suitable volunteers who then visit older isolated people on a regular basis.
The befriender provides companionship and may support the person to get out and about, help with a hobby or interest or just have a chat over a cup of tea.
This service is free of charge.
TEA & TALK
Tea & Talk is an opportunity to meet like-minded people in the lovely setting of the Crown Hotel, Harrogate for afternoon tea with a guest speaker.
You need to be a registered client to attend, this is a simple process of calling the office on 01423 531490. Once you are registered we would ask if you could call the office to book a place.
Please see calendar for dates and speakers. If required and subject to availability, we may be able to arrange transport to this event.
The cost is £6.00 to include afternoon tea.
DINING OUT CLUB
Dining Out Club is held on the first Monday of the month. We meet, wherever possible, at local independent restaurants for lunch.
This gives our members the opportunity to enjoy a meal, perhaps in a restaurant they have not been to before with friends both old and new.
Various costs but we strive to make it accessible to all.
Outings have previously included trips to the Skipton Canal, The Lion King, National Railway Museum and Filey. We also have a Christmas shopping trip and Christmas outing. This gives our members chance to visit a new venue, get our and about with a group of like-minded people with the emphasis on having fun.
OVER 60’s SINGING GROUP
Singing for pleasure! Open to all – the group meets on the third Wednesday of each month to sing well-known songs at St Peter’s Church in the heart of Harrogate.
No singing ability needed just enthusiasm. Accompanied by a professional pianist and all music is provided.
Not yet restarted – watch this space.
The cost is £2.00 including tea and biscuits.
MOVEMENT & MUSIC GROUP
This is a friendly group who meet at the Green Hut, 44 Harlow Avenue, Harrogate, every Tuesday at 10am for an hour of seated exercise led by a qualified instructor and supporting by volunteers. The exercise session is followed by an hour of socialising over a cup of tea or coffee and biscuits!
The cost of the session is £4.00
Please note there maybe a waiting list for this activity
We have worked with some wonderful people over the years and have some amazing stories to tell!! Below are just a few.
Click on any image below to read more
Mabel, a lady in her mid 80’s, was referred to Supporting Older People by her GP, who felt we would be the ideal charity to help her.
Mabel’s husband had died of cancer and deteriorated so quickly at the end that she had very little time to come to terms with this. Mabel suffered from anxiety and tended to fixate and worry about things. She had, and still has, limited mobility which restricts her going out and about. She has no immediate family and only a couple of friends.
Her GP suggested Supporting Older People as a way of meeting new friends and having someone to chat to.
The Home Visiting Scheme Manager introduced Mabel to a volunteer called Hannah. Hannah had come to Supporting Older People on the recommendation of another volunteer who enjoyed it so much she encouraged her friend to participate. Hannah is a full time mum and felt she wanted to make a difference to the life of an older person.
The pair immediately hit it off, finding common ground to chat and Mabel enjoyed seeing Hannah’s little boy. During the time Hannah has been visiting, Mabel has had concerns about builders and Hannah immediately contacted the SOP office to discuss this and we were able to find ways to help Mabel.
Hannah now visits on a weekly basis; they enjoy going shopping, out for tea or just sitting and chatting. When Mabel had a leaky pipe in her kitchen Hannah was on hand to help with clearing up. Birthdays are celebrated with a trip to Harlow Carr for a walk around the gardens followed by afternoon tea.
Mabel says, “Hannah is now a friend, a lovely lady with a wonderful disposition. She is a constant in my life”. She also expressed her thanks to Supporting Older People for introducing her to Hannah.
(All names changed to preserve confidentiality)
Sophia & Pearl
Sophia & Pearl
Sophia was referred into Supporting Older People in March 2018 and suggested she would like a Home Visitor. Sophia lives alone, has limited sight and poor mobility. Her son lives away from Harrogate. Sophia was born in Southern Italy and was a lecturer in Italian.
Paul joined SOP as a Home Visitor he is studying Italian at Leeds University! I mentioned Sophia to Paul and he said he would love to visit her.
A date was set (unbeknown to us Sophia’s birthday!!) for Paul and Sophia to meet. We rang the bell and I introduced Paul to Sophia – Paul introduced himself in Italian and Sophia’s face was priceless! I had not told her about Paul’s studies.
They now meet on a regular basis to chat away in Italian – a perfect match as Paul has his spoken and written Italian corrected and Sophia gets to converse in her native tongue! Not only that but they are great friends and enjoy each other’s company immensely!
Pearl had recently moved to Harrogate to be near her family. She was in sheltered housing and although enjoyed visits from her family missed the friends she had left behind. I visited Pearl and spoke to her about our activities programme. Tea & Talk interested Pearl and she came along to a session at the Crown. From that moment she was hooked. She found new friendships and enjoyed the social side. Pearl has recruited other ladies from where she lives to come along to Tea & Talk. Pearl’s daughter sent the following email:
“Hi Julia, Just wanted to say a huge ‘thank you’ to you and the team for looking after my Mum who has recently moved to Harrogate. Mum has attended the Tuesday afternoon tea at the Crown Hotel for a few weeks. She was collected from home and delivered back safely after having a fantastic afternoon. She is 96 yrs old has failing eyesight and is hard of hearing. But what an effort you put in to make her feel so welcome. She has made new friends and so looks forward to her outings. This has made a huge change of circumstances for her. Thank you so much”
(All names have been changed to protect the client’s privacy)
The day Juliet walked through the door of Supporting Older People we did not know the impact she would have on two older people who were feeling isolated. Juliet was matched with M who had family living away and although lived in sheltered housing felt she would like one to one contact. M instantly bonded with Juliet – their love of clothes, style and fashion helped bond their wonderful relationship. Juliet and M see each other on a weekly basis and pass the time either going out for coffee, shopping or enjoying a good catch up.
Juliet felt she had the time to visit another person and the Befriending Manager introduced her to J who lived alone with his dog Alfie as his companion. When J was initially visited by the Befriending Manager he asked if she could find him someone who would go for a short dog walk with him. Juliet and J soon became good friends and J mentioned that he had lost touch with his family. Juliet asked if he would like to reconnect and she enlisted the help of her savvy social media expert niece.
She managed to track down Derek, J’s brother on social media which led the way to six other siblings being traced. J said since meeting Juliet “I am so much happier in myself – I never used to go out. I would go from one day to the next with seeing or talking to anybody, before I met Juliet and found my brothers and sisters. My life has completed changed. I cannot thank Juliet enough for everything she has done for me. Our friendship means a lot to me and she has made a massive difference to my life”.
A perfect example of the power of volunteering.
(All Names have been changed to protect the client’s privacy)
Do you have an hour or two a week to spare?
If so volunteer with Supporting Older People.
We carefully match you with an older person who maybe isolated and lonely. Volunteer visitors offer support and friendship, usually on a weekly basis. This contact makes a lasting difference, raises self-esteem, maintains independence and greatly improves quality of life for the older person and, often, the volunteer.
We encourage volunteers of all backgrounds and ages. We support young volunteers, some of whom choose to volunteer with SOP as part of their application for the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme. This is beneficial in integrating generations.
We arrange a meeting with the Befriending Manager for a chat about what the role entails and to fill in an application form. We ask for two references and a Disclosing and Barring Service check. Once the paperwork has been returned you will meet your older person.
The Befriending Manager will go with you on your first visit to help “break the ice”. You will be issued with a Volunteer Handbook which covers the do’s and do nots of volunteering with Supporting Older People.
To apply, please call: 01423 531490
Our team of volunteer drivers transport our Supporting Older People members to and from our activities. This means one or two journeys per month – the more drivers we have the more people can come to our activities.
We are always keen to hear from people who are interested in joining our Board of Trustees. Formal meeting take place quarterly, but our trustees also support many of our activities and events. We are particularly interested in people with a local business background.
As a charity we are always looking for new ways to raise funds so we can continue our work in the community. We welcome all ideas and suggestions for events and we always welcome new faces to our fund raising group.
WHY DOES SUPPORTING OLDER PEOPLE NEED VOLUNTEERS?
Volunteers enhance our team, bringing a wealth of experience & skills, in addition to the many hours of support they offer to our clients. For example, our Home Visiting Scheme currently provides over 3000 hours of volunteer visits per year!
WHAT CAN I GAIN FROM VOLUNTEERING?
Volunteering can be a means to acquiring new skills and experiences and can be a useful addition to your C.V. or Personal Statement for UCAS. Many of our volunteers have been with us for over 10 years, which reflects the enjoyment and satisfaction they gain from making a big difference to the life of a lonely older person. We are always happy to provide a reference for a volunteer, if requested to do so.
WHAT HAVE I GOT TO OFFER?
You do not need any specific qualifications for any of our volunteering roles. We need people who are outgoing, chatty and non-judgemental. A sense of humour is a great asset, along with a genuine interest in people and their life stories!
WILL I NEED TRAINING?
No formal training is required but all of our volunteers receive a handbook which contains essential information about lone working. We can occasionally provide any relevant training such as wheelchair handling, should your role require it. We will support you to ensure you feel confident in fulfilling your volunteering role.
HOW MUCH TIME DO I HAVE TO GIVE?
This is down to you and your availability. We will happily work with whatever time you are able to offer us. For example, some of our volunteers are only available at the weekends, whilst others prefer a weekday. We are very flexible!
CAN I CLAIM EXPENSES?
Volunteers can claim out of pocket expenses incurred whilst carrying out their role. These must be agreed in advance in line with Supporting Older People's policy.
WILL I NEED A POLICE CHECK?
Because Supporting Older People involves direct contact with vulnerable people; we will apply for a Disclosure and Barring Scheme check. There is no cost to you for this, and do be assured that having a past conviction would not necessarily prevent you from volunteering with us. We consider every situation carefully before making a decision.
WILL VOLUNTEERING AFFECT ANY BENEFITS I AM RECEIVING?
Volunteering shouldn’t affect your benefits. For the latest information contact your local job centre plus office. You may actually find that volunteering helps you to secure employment by enhancing your C.V.
WHAT SUPPORT WILL I RECEIVE?
We acknowledge that our volunteers bring a wide variety of experience and skills and we welcome this as it enables us to provide a person-centred service. We are committed to supporting all our volunteers to ensure they have a positive experience whilst volunteering for us.
WHAT AGE CAN I START VOLUNTEERING?
We encourage volunteers of all ages, but our minimum age is 16, as this is the restriction imposed by the Disclosure and Barring Scheme.
WHAT TYPES OF THINGS CAN I DO AS A VOLUNTEER?
We have many opportunities available, including befriending, driving, helping with activities and events, fundraising and being a trustee.
HOW DO I APPLY TO VOLUNTEER?
Please either call us on 01423 531490 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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Supporting Older People couldn’t provide the services it offers without the support of local business. The businesses listed below do so much for our charity including providing lifts to our events, donating food for our lunch club, donating prizes for events, giving the charity a % of sales, donating to the charity through ticket sales to name a few.
Leave us a Gift
When someone leaves a gift in their will, however large or small, to Supporting Older People, this enables us to continue to provide our services today, as well helping us plan for the future. Providing for your loved ones will be your priority when making a Will, but many people will also wish to leave a gift to a cause they hold dear.
A solicitor is best placed to write your Will or make a change to an existing one. The solicitor can tell you the various ways you can leave a charitable gift in your will, however most people choose to leave a percentage of their estate to charity (known as a residuary gift) as this will ensure that your gift keeps up with the rates of inflation over time.
As a charity we are always looking for new ways to raise funds so we can continue our work in the community.
We welcome all ideas and suggestions for events and we always welcome new faces to our fund raising group.
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Address: Community House, 46 – 50 East Parade, Harrogate, HG1 5RR
Charity Number: 1155682
Mon – Fri: 9am till 5:30pm
Closed Weekends & Bank Holidays