‘Adopt a Grandparent’ Announces New Director of Fundraising as the Charity Nears 100,000 Sign Ups Globally

‘Adopt a Grandparent’, an initiative initially created to help virtually pair care home residents with volunteers to combat loneliness throughout the pandemic, has appointed a Director of Fundraising – as the project-turned-charity sets out its 2023 plans to reach 100,000 sign-ups.

The ground-breaking and award-winning scheme, which has now established itself as an independent charity with a digital app and more than 90,000 volunteers spanning from Hawaii to Harrogate, has unveiled international charity volunteer Andy Doherty as its new Director of Fundraising, as it seeks to continue its mission to abolish loneliness for the elderly in social care and local communities.

Andy joins the charity with an impressive résumé in fundraising and finance management on an international scale, most notably and recently through his position as one of the philanthropy managers of The Prince’s Trust.

Having moved from New Zealand, Andy joins the Adopt a Grandparent team during a significant transition for the charity, which started as a local initiative in Surrey but rapidly escalated to reach volunteers from all corners of the globe – some of which are celebrities and household names. Andy is giving his time to the charity as a volunteer, having bought into its mission and values, and after experiencing first-hand the impact of loneliness on his own parents and family, he’s eager to help take it through its next phase in 2023.

Andy will work closely with the charity and its ever-growing network of sponsors and partners to aid its financial growth and ensure it fundraises the required minimum of £100,000 a year to stay in operation, with the hope of growing this to £1million to maximise its potential and fulfil its targets. This is in addition to exploring new and exciting ways to provide the elderly with intergenerational companionship, no matter the distance.

Speaking of his new position, Andy said:
“Having come across the campaign when it really blew up and went international – reaching me on the other side of the world in New Zealand – I knew it was a no brainer to get involved. I could see its potential to connect even more people from across the globe with care home residents and elderly members of society looking for companionship. It’s such a positive scheme with the simple aim of reducing loneliness in the elderly through the development of meaningful relationships – be that by forming intergenerational friendships, connecting with those with similar interests, or simply interacting with someone new.

“I’m relishing the chance to really immerse myself in the new role and help the charity to build on its fundraising, through educating people about the elderly in care homes and local communities. By making them more accessible, we’ll help them realise care environments are full of brilliant characters who have a lot left to give.”

Spearheaded by Shaleeza Hasham, its Founder and CEO who also works with her family-run care group in the Surrey area, Adopt a Grandparent has already seen substantial growth since its inception three years ago. With existing volunteers including Hollywood stars such as Ruby Rose and Bitsie Tulloch, it’s also been endorsed by The Duke of Edinburgh charity as part of its volunteering section.

The campaign, which was launched in late 2019, was initially designed to identify and connect willing virtual volunteers with lonely grandparents via video chat. Volunteers would apply to join the scheme, which would see them outline their hobbies, activities, and interests, before being manually vetted and paired with the perfect candidate – with both parties then benefiting from rewarding intergenerational relationships forged on life experience and similar interests. It has since become an independent, not-for-profit organisation for public benefit, and has launched an app to facilitate, streamline and speed up the ‘adoption’ process.

Shaleeza said:
“We’re delighted to have someone with Andy’s experience and passion for fundraising join our team as we prepare for an exciting year ahead. We’ve come a long way in the last three years, but that significant growth will only continue as we look to take this person-centred project into its next phase – with Andy taking the helm. The fact he has joined on a purely voluntary basis shows the kind of person he is, while it also underlines the power of the initiative we’ve created having drawn the interest of someone of his ilk.”

Shaleeza concluded:
“This is just the first of several big announcements we’ll be making this year as we have some really exciting projects in the pipeline. We’d love for as many people as possible to join us on this ‘next-phase’ journey as we hope to take Adopt a Grandparent to new heights, and in doing so, edge one step closer to combating loneliness in social care and beyond though providing meaningful, long-lasting relationships.”