The Elder Tree Charity has five distinct elements:
Our Core Activity is ‘One to One’ Befriending and we have been doing this for 25 years. We currently support 35 of our more socially isolated and vulnerable beneficiaries in their homes. Our Befrienders are predominately volunteers who give their time freely – they all receive comprehensive training and are CRB checked.
The Second Element is Promoting and Maintaining Social Independence. This is delivered through a series of weekly lunch and supper clubs that are supported by volunteers and are held at various locations across the city. There are also regular coach and mini bus trips around the region.
The Third Element is Active Minds. Weekly quizzes and craft events, reminiscence sessions, two community choirs, and a unique ‘access to the theatre’ club and IT classes provide mental stimulation and companionship.
The Fourth Element is Active Steps. This is a low impact programme of physical activity that is delivered in various locations across the city – the sessions also incorporate a ‘drop in’ element where one of our project workers is on hand provide advice and information across a wide range of issues. Active Steps exercise and movement classes – we deliver separate classes for the more able and classes that are designed specifically for armchair/wheelchair beneficiaries, Tai Chi classes and a cardio fit classes. The Active Steps programme has expanded rapidly and we have 300 + over 50s who take part in at least one hour low impact exercise a week. The mix of social engagement, advice and signposting and light exercise contributes significantly to improving the self-esteem and promoting the continued independent living of our beneficiaries. This has also been a catalyst in many cases to new and supportive friendships and the recruitment of volunteers for our charity.
The Fifth Element is Active Volunteering. This is at the core and drives everything the charity does. Our volunteers support us in various ways including being ‘One to One’ Befrienders, company directors, cooks and generally supporting our various activities. The Elder Tree was recognised as the Team of the Year at the 2012 Inspiring Volunteering Awards ceremony.