Bute ‘befriending’ scheme moves a step closer

Cowal Elderly Befrienders co-ordinator Duncan MacLeod meets community representatives from Bute at a drop-in event to promote the charity's new venture on the island.

Cowal Elderly Befrienders co-ordinator Duncan MacLeod meets community representatives from Bute at a drop-in event to promote the charity's new venture on the island.

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A project aimed at reducing isolation and loneliness among Bute’s older residents has begun accepting referrals from the island community.

The Bute Elderly Befrienders scheme, expected to be fully up and running by December, held a drop-in event in Rothesay this week to introduce local people to the project’s aims and activities.

The scheme is an offshoot of the Cowal Elderly Befrienders charity, which has been operating in the Dunoon and Cowal area since 1996 and is extending its work to Bute with the help of financial support from NHS Highland’s Reshaping Care for Older People initiative.

Project co-ordinator Duncan MacLeod told this week’s event: “We should have a dedicated Bute outreach worker appointed in early November, but we’re accepting referrals from now.

“Volunteers will support all aspects of the service on Bute and will be recruited throughout October and November.

“Assessment of new clients’ needs will start in November, with the full service rolled out in December at the latest.”

The projects provides one-to-one contact and companionship to vulnerable elderly people and also operates an ‘out and about’ service giving small groups of clients the chance to go on day trips together or to attend lunch clubs or other local events.

The scheme also operates a dementia support service as part of its other activities, and provides a range of information to help people live independently and safely at home.