A new business has been set up in the Kingdom to help tackle loneliness among vulnerable people in the community.
Central Fife Companions was started with the aim of providing support and companionship to adults experiencing social isolation due to age, disability, illness, accident or circumstance.
It was launched in March by four family members who recognised that an increasing number of people in the community are suffering from isolation.
Rachel Weston, co-founder and companion co-ordinator said: “It all started as a blether around the coffee table. The idea for the companion service was borne out of frustration – we recognised what was needed.
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“When my mother-in-law was caring for her husband we saw the glaring blanks that were missing from the support that he needed.
“She was begging for a good sleep – she needed someone to sit with her husband through the night so she could get a break.Even going to the shops was impossible as she couldn’t take her husband with her, and there was no one to care for him. Even now, several years later, she still talks about how frustrating it was and how lonely and isolated she felt.”
The companions are often contacted by a son or daughter who are looking for extra support for their parents.
Initial meetings are held, and the organisation matches the needs of the client to the skills of the companion.
Added Rachel: “We take clients out to do their shopping, a trip to the bingo or days out to places such as Anstruther for a fish supper. All of our companions are multi-agency care workers, nursing services, occupational health workers and have been in these professions for quite some time.”
Rachel feels that the service is much needed in the community.
She said: “There are people who, after they get their medication or lunch delivered, might not see another soul all day. They may not require round the clock care or companionship – all they want is to go out to a cafe once a week or someone to pop in couple of times a week for a cup of tea.
“To know that we are making a difference to someone who is lonely and isolated is so rewarding.”