“Friendship Trees” Branch Out To Help Vulnerable Older People

“Friendship Trees” have been established to ensure that vulnerable older residents receive much needed regular phone calls to check that they are safe and well during the coronavirus pandemic. Local MP, David Rutley, gave his strong support to the scheme when he recently joined a video call with a member, Ms Sue Simpson, and Ms Christine Harrop, Manager of Macclesfield MHA Live at Home, who leads this important initiative.

During the call, David heard first-hand how much Live at Home members are benefiting from having regular phone calls - at least twice a week or often daily. All 170 members have been included in “Friendship Trees” and a so-called “Branch Manager” then calls each of the 5-6 members in their group. These calls have been a lifeline for many older people and help them feel less lonely and isolated in such challenging times, as well as providing a way of checking their well-being and ensuring that they have the food and medical supplies that they need.  

The support of volunteers has never been more important and MHA Live at Home is keen to find more people who can support its work in the months ahead. There is a wide variety of volunteering opportunities available and over fifty volunteers are currently playing their part in this vital work. Any local residents who would like to get involved can email Christine.Harrop@mha.org.uk for further details.

The MHA is the largest charity care provider in the UK, offering high quality care, accommodation and support services for older people throughout Britain. Founded by the Methodist Church in 1943, today the MHA supports 4,400 older people in care homes, many of whom receive specialist dementia or nursing care as well as 3,000 older people living in retirement living communities and 11,100 more living independently in their own homes.

Following the phone call, David said, “During these unprecedented times, the MHA Live at Home’s “Friendship Trees” are helping to combat social isolation and support many vulnerable older people. It is good to see how this active local charity, along with many others, is finding new ways to keep in touch with its members and give them support. I hope that more local residents will get involved with this important scheme and help provide further assistance for older vulnerable people in our communities.”