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Granparents Wanted: Charity Seeks Older Persons For ‘Adoption’ In A Bid To Tackle

A charity combating loneliness is seeking ‘grandparents’ to come forward and be paired with volunteers as part of a drive to find participants – as it shines a spotlight on those volunteers who are ready and waiting to be paired.

Adopt a Grandparent is a charity with a mission to combat loneliness, and its intergenerational ‘Adoption’ programme has already secured the support of nearly 100,000 volunteers.

But, with the outpouring of volunteer support far exceeding the number of ‘grandparents’ currently seeking companionship, the charity has launched a ‘Wanted’ campaign to balance its books – with its 1st of October launch coinciding with both Grandparents’ Day in the UK and the UN’s International Day of Older Persons.

The effort to bridge this gap and ensure no one feels alone sees the charity shine a spotlight on nine exceptional existing volunteers – showcasing the broad mix of personality types and backgrounds to be found amongst potential partnerships, as it invites ‘grandparents’ to come forward.

With wide ranging reasons for joining the scheme, from personal loneliness, to missing their own grandparents, to simply wanting to help others – by outlining the depth of personalities and backgrounds among these volunteers, Adopt a Grandparent hopes to highlight just some of the incredible individuals who are eager to make a difference in the lives of those who live in care homes, retirement homes or are in receipt of homecare and other care services.

Amongst the volunteers looking to be paired are some well known faces, including Hollywood actress Ruby Rose, and UK actress and media personality, Jess Impiazzi – as well as a doctor, finance director, electrician, nurse, lawyer and more, with ages stretching from those in their twenties to their fifties.

The initiative is designed to show that no matter your background, career, hobbies or interests, someone within the database will have the lived experience to match – providing the platform from which to form a meaningful bond, with a specially designed app in place to streamline and speed up the pairing process.

Explaining more, Shaleeza Hasham, Adopt a Grandparent’s founder, said: “The response to our call for volunteers to adopt ‘grandparents’ was absolutely incredible and enormously heartwarming. Now though, we are seeing a shift where we have considerably more younger volunteers than we do grandparents. We’d love to help build more intergenerational friendships – so we’re putting out a call for interested older parties to sign up too.”

She continued: “As you can imagine, with almost 100,000 volunteers already on board the breadth of life experience is vast – and it means any prospective grandparent who shows an interest can be matched up with someone with similar interests, helping to forge those vital bonds.”

Speaking of her reasons behind joining the scheme, media personality Jess Impiazzi, said: “The older generations hold so much wisdom. I was extremely close to my grandparents who have all passed away and I miss them dearly.” Jess’s involvement in Adopt a Grandparent comes following a period which saw her father receive palliative care at CHD Living’s Brownscombe Lodge, a home that’s heavily invested in the scheme. Her desire to volunteer is deeply rooted in her passion for connecting with others and making a positive impact, understanding the importance of human connection and empathy.

Hollywood actor and model, Ruby Rose, a long-term supporter of the charity, who formed a strong bond with care resident Iris in 2020 and is now looking for a new ‘grandparent’, said: “My initial inspiration to join the Adopt a Grandparent programme came years before I found the organisation. Growing up in a church choir, we regularly volunteered at retirement homes, singing for them, playing board games: it was a joy. At 15 my first job was for the local pharmacy, delivering medication to older persons on my bicycle. I’ve always cared deeply about our older community. Early on in the pandemic, a friend of mine shared her experience with AAG and I knew, instantly, that I had to reach out and help in any way I could. What I didn’t know at the time was how long the pandemic would last, how meaningful my weekly video calls with Iris, my adopted grandma, would become, and how healing the whole process would be.”