Jackie Baillie MSP supports Age Scotland’s Friendship Line to tackle loneliness this winter
By Lucy Ashton
Dumbarton MSP, Jackie Baillie, pictured right, doesn’t want anyone to be alone this winter and is working to promote Age Scotland’s national friendship line to older constituents who might be needing a chat and know someone is there to listen to them.
New research from Age Scotland, the national charity for older people, shows that more than 157,000 over 65s in Scotland are expecting to feel lonely over the festive season. This could be as many as two older people on every street in Dumbarton, Vale of Leven or Helensburgh and Lomond.
Their free 0800 12 44 222 service offers older people the chance for a good chat, support and friendship. Volunteers are available to chat with people over the age of 50 about anything they want to discuss, and they can even schedule a regular weekly call. It is open from 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.
Jackie Baillie MSP said: “Spending Christmas Day alone is the sad reality for many people in our local community. This year has been hugely isolating and lonely for those who live alone and are vulnerable.
“I know how supportive and inclusive our community is and I encourage everyone to check in on their neighbours this festive period. Even just having a conversation on the doorstep or over the phone will mean a great deal for those who otherwise will have no one to talk to.
“Despite the restrictions on household gatherings being eased for a short period, many older people will not want to risk their health by after managing to protect themselves all year. Age Scotland does fantastic work fighting to end loneliness and supporting older people, not just over the Christmas period but all year round too.”
Age Scotland’s chief executive Brian Sloan said: “We know that the Christmas period is the loneliest time of the year for many older people in Scotland but this one will be like no other. It’s heart-breaking that more than 157,000 over 65s expect to feel lonely this year, which could be as many as two older people on every street in Dumbarton.
“The impact coronavirus has had on all of our lives has been drastic and as a result levels of loneliness throughout this year, among people of all ages, have been rising at an alarming rate. It has been particularly felt by the hundreds of thousands of older people who live alone, have no local support networks and who do not have access to the internet.”
Top: If you can’t visit of make a telephone call those you know who might be lonely this Christmas then send them a card. They’ll love that.
Santa’s sledge parked in George Square – Photograph by Lorraine Herbison