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Caledonia Housing Association - Volunteer Project

Caledonia’s Volunteer Project was originally established in 2012 with a grant from the Reshaping Care for Older People Fund and continues today with funding from The Big Lottery. The aims of the project are to provide social opportunity for older people living in sheltered or retirement housing; to provide activities to reduce isolation and loneliness; and to promote health and wellbeing. 

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Caledonia Housing Association’s vision is “homes and services that make life better”.

We don’t just rent houses, we build new homes, regenerate and create new communities, provide services for older people and have an active volunteering project.

Over the years the Volunteer Project has developed from a Dundee-centred project, to cover Dundee, Perthshire, Angus and Fife.

The project is organised by a single Volunteer Coordinator who identifies activities that interest tenants. These activities are then set up and volunteers are recruited to maintain the groups in the longer term.

There has been a wide variety of group and social activities organised in communal lounges, for example: tea/coffee/food-based social groups, carpet bowls, games, quizzes, IT support, gentle seated exercise, bingo, entertainment and live music, arts and crafts, reminiscence groups, aromatherapy, nail painting, knitting, book review groups, Tai Chi, and gardening.

The project has provided services to tenants living in sheltered housing of five different housing associations. It also encourages other voluntary organisations to bring their services into the communal lounges and encourages tenants’ friends and families to take part. On average, 150 to 180 tenants take part in group activities each week.

The Volunteer Project also provides a small ‘Befriending Service’ for tenants and older people in the wider community who are socially isolated through poor health or low mobility. Volunteers are recruited, trained and placed to provide regular companionship. For some people, other than carers and health staff, these can be their main social visits each week.  Volunteer befrienders spend time providing social support, encouraging shared interests and reducing feeling of loneliness and isolation.

Volunteers are key to this project, providing their time and bringing their skills to support older people. Volunteers come from all walks of life and have ranged from 15 years of age to 90. Around a quarter of volunteers are tenants themselves who organise and support activities in their own scheme. There are many reasons why people volunteer, from wanting to give something back to their community, to learning new skills, or gaining work experience. Our volunteers give on average 4500 hours of their time per year to support this project’s activities. 

Want to find out more?

Rachel Martin

Marketing & Communications Officer

Caledonia Housing Association

118 Strathern Road, Broughty Ferry, Dundee, DD5 1JW

E-mail: Rachel.Martin@caledoniaha.co.uk

Direct Dial: 01382 484 517 / 07813895992