Athelstan's friendly army on a mission in Malmesbury
A NEW Athelstan’s Army is forming up in Malmesbury with a mission to save elderly people in the area from loneliness.
The campaign is a result of former mayor Steve Cox’s appeal last year which was shared between Age UK and a project to create way marked footpaths round the town.
He told the Standard: “At the moment it is in the early stages. We’re just trying to spread the word, looking for volunteers and people who can pinpoint those who might like visits from us.”
“It’s for people who are lonely,” he explained. “Malmesbury and the villages are basically friendly place, but there are lots of people who find it hard to get out for one reason or another.”
Cllr Cox has volunteered as a befriender for several years, dropping in to see people who have become isolated due to their age and infirmity.
He pointed to a nationwide survey that revealed up to a third of elderly people felt lonely.
Much of the groundwork needed to start the project has been carried out by a worker from Age UK who was funded by the appeal.
As well as recruiting befrienders there are also plans to run a weekly drop in club in the town hall on Fridays at 10am.
The other half of the mayoral appeal was realised last summer when the five-mile Walk over Water route around the town’s bridges was launched.
Anyone interested in joining the initiative can contact Cllr C through the town council offices.