Supporting Older People

Supporting Older People

At a glance


  • Older people / later life

Other details

Geographical remit: 


We work with older people, most of whom live alone in Harrogate, Knaresborough and the surrounding villages. We aim to alleviate loneliness and isolation via our Befriending Service and programme of group activities. We are a team of three part time staff managed by a trustee board. We currently work with 200 older people and have almost 100 volunteers.

Evidence shows that loneliness and isolation can lead to depression and morbidity, and can exacerbate physical illness, having the same impact as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. We know what a difference our service makes to the older people of Harrogate:

  • responding to our most recent annual survey (2018), 100% of clients tell us they feel less socially isolated; 75% feel less lonely, and 55% have experienced improved confidence and self-esteem; and
  • clients tell us “Supporting Older People has given me a new lease of life,” “getting involved with Supporting Older People was the best thing I ever did” and “I don’t get many visitors. E…’s visits encourage me to talk. I really look forward to seeing him.”


We recruit and match volunteers, who give an hour or two a week to visit an older person in their own homes. Our volunteers currently provide over 4,700 hours of support a year. Amazing friendships are formed! 

Our activities' programme consists of monthly Tea and Talks, outings, singing group and "Dining Out Club" as well as a weekly music and movement group. All our activities are in Community venues. We also:

  • signpost people to other organisations from which they may benefit. 
  • run a telephone befriending service
  • began working with veterans, who access our activities programme, in 2018
  • organise Harrogate's celebration for International Day for Older People each October. 
  • organise one-off/ad hoc events where clients and volunteers join together.  These include our Christmas Party, Carol Service, quizzes and other social events; and
  • pride ourselves on our support and training of volunteers, and hold quarterly volunteers’ meetings where training is provided, and concerns are shared.

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