Volunteers needed to help older people’s post-Covid recovery


A community hub is appealing for volunteers to help it support older people in Camden to recover from the effects of the pandemic

Two smiling women sit at a table, with plates of food, in a community centre

Older people’s services co-ordinator Mary Pierce and Queen’s Crescent Community Association member Jean Dowse enjoy a Christmas tea for older people.

Queen’s Crescent Community Association, in Gospel Oak, is offering exercise sessions, befriending, social events and an advice service to help older people recover their health, confidence and independence.

The service – Forever Young: Beyond Covid – is being supported by a £109,000 grant from City Bridge Trust, the City of London Corporation’s charity funder.

The charity, which traces its roots back to the 1960s, is looking for volunteers to give up a few hours of their time to befriend an older person or help out at events such as lunch clubs.

City Bridge Trust Chairman Giles Shilson said:

“Grassroots charities like Queen’s Crescent Community Association play a vital role in offering their communities support, advice and the social interaction that so many people have missed during the pandemic.

“This scheme provides opportunities and benefits not just for older people, but also for those who could spare a few hours a week or a month to get involved in their community and to make a difference.”

Four in ten Queen’s Crescent Community Association members said they felt more anxious, and almost half felt more isolated as a result of Covid.

As part of the scheme, the charity will also be producing a film, My Covid Year, giving older people the chance to talk about their experiences during the pandemic.

Queen’s Crescent Community Association Older People’s Services Manager Mary Pierce said:

“A lot of older people are feeling less confident than they were, are less mobile and have health issues they didn’t have before the pandemic. This programme offers people friendship, a social connection and the reassurance of knowing there is someone they can talk to if they have an issue.

“We would really welcome more volunteers to work with older people. During Covid, people have rediscovered the joy that comes from connecting with their community and people who volunteer get a real sense of satisfaction and build lasting friendships.”

Anyone interested in volunteering at the centre is asked to email mary@qcca.org.uk or call 0207 267 6635. More information is online at www.qcca.org.uk

Volunteering and exercise

Jean Dowse, from Gospel Oak, is both a service user and a volunteer at Queen’s Crescent Community Association. She has been a volunteer for six years and helps with coffee mornings and leading chair-based exercise classes when the instructor is on holiday.

She said: “I enjoy volunteering because I like to be part of the community, meeting people and helping out. I like going to exercise classes because they help keep my joints and everything working.  I’m very happy to be back at Queen’s Crescent Community Association again after the hard and stressful Covid lockdowns.”

User Cleophas Beckles, also from Gospel Oak, said: “I’ve been attending the chair-based exercise classes for over two years.  I think they’re excellent and enjoy them very, very much.  The classes are very sociable and they also get my limbs moving. Everything feels much better afterwards.”

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile, dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK – www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

The City Corporation is the sole trustee of Bridge Houses Estates, founded in 1097 to maintain London Bridge, and Members of its Court of Common Council form the Bridge House Estates Board.

Bridge House Estates is responsible for maintaining Tower, London, Southwark, Millennium and Blackfriars Bridges, and its charity funding arm City Bridge Trust – founded in 1995 – gives out over £25 million a year to good causes across the capital.