All aboard! The Trip Buddies making sure no one is left behind

A team of volunteers are giving up their time to help tackle loneliness, particularly amongst older people.

A trips and holidays scheme, organised by The Wrekin Housing Group, was set up to help tenants of its retirement and independent living schemes stay active, make friends and avoid social isolation.

Three volunteers have recently jumped onboard to help make sure no one misses out.

Katrina Pooler, Events Coordinator for The Wrekin Housing Group said:

“We came up with the idea of Trip Buddies when a number of our tenants told me they would love to come on our day trips but they didn’t have the confidence to go alone.”

“Dawn was the first Trip Buddy to get involved - I knew her previously and, luckily for me, she had just retired. She is very patient and caring. Having advertised the service in our brochure it became clear we needed more. Pauline Edwards and Josie Hotchkiss offered their help and we are now up to three. It’s great news for our tenants!”

Dawn Whitehead had a long career in care before retiring in 2022.

She said:

“I’ve worked in care homes, independent living settings and for the NHS, working mostly with older people with mental health problems. I’ve met lots of people who are lonely and that don’t go out because they have no one to go with.”

“Katrina had one particular lady in mind for me. We met and got on like a house on fire. People ask if I’m her carer and I say absolutely not – I’m her friend. I’m there to have a chat and make sure she’s alright.”

For some Wrekin tenants, the trips and activities have become a vital way of fending off loneliness, particularly in the winter months where dark nights and the challenges of Christmas can lead to increased isolation.

Dawn adds:

“With the economic climate the way it is money is tight, especially if you’re on a pension but The Wrekin Housing Group do a marvellous job at putting on affordable activities.”

“Katrina is so good because she’ll make sure everyone gets home afterwards. The lady I support wouldn’t be able to do it on her own. I think people think ‘I’m slow, I need a stick, I need a walker’ but it doesn’t matter. We’re there to make things easier.”

5th October 2023