Are you good company? You could help brighten someone’s day

Befriending charity Good Company is looking for more volunteers as well as those who could benefit.

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Good Company director Nathan Sansom

Are you good company? You could help brighten someone’s day

A local charity helping pensioners meet new people and keep loneliness at bay has been awarded lottery funding to help it grow.

It’s called Good Company, and its team is looking for more volunteers as well as those who could benefit.

The charity matches volunteers with older people who have signed up by themselves or with help from a relative or friend.

Something as simple as helping with the weekly shop or popping in for a cup of tea could make all the difference and would only need an hour of a volunteer’s time.

Their work complements Hammersmith & Fulham Council’s strategy to reduce loneliness and social isolation which members of the public discussed at a meeting this week.

Good Company’s director Nathan Sansom explains the difference the charity makes and how you can help their good work.

Name and age

Nathan Sansom, 34

Ttile and organisation

Director, Good Company

What do you do?

Good Company connects local volunteers with older people around a common interest. They can then meet up for tea and chat, or to get out and share something they both enjoy - music, a trip to a local gallery, or watching the big match. As we grow we want to make connections between our volunteers and older people.

How long have you worked there? What has changed over that time?

I’m one of the co-founders of Good Company, so I’ve been part of the journey since we started at the end of last year. Lots of things have changed as we’ve gone from concept to reality and been able to work with really inspiring volunteers and older people. They’ve really helped us think about how we can improve what we do, from how we give older people choice, to giving better guidance in training.

How do you think you’ve made a difference to people’s lives? 

It’s still early days for us, but there are some heart-warming connections - older people who have been given a new lease of life to get involved with things that they are passionate about, but have lacked confidence to do for a while, whether that’s playing ping-pong, or getting out to an exhibition. And we’ve also seen our volunteers benefit hugely from the interactions.

What advice do you give the people you work with? And what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever heard?

Test and learn! It’s vital in the early stages, and something we should always keep doing. The best advice I’ve had, not quite in so many words was ‘don’t ask, don’t get’. Asking isn’t something Brits are usually very comfortable with, but I’m always pleasantly surprised how keen people are to help in all sorts of ways.

How are you funded?

Charitable Trusts and Foundations, as well as some grants from philanthropists. We are particularly grateful to our first funders, who took the plunge on a brand-new venture - the Social Business Trust, and Sir Tom Hughes-Hallett, Chair of the Chelsea and Westminster Trust Hospital.

What are your plans for the future?

We aim to develop the service in London, and then expand from here.

Can people get involved to help you?

We’d love to hear from people interested in volunteering with us, and from people who have an older relative in London who they think could benefit from more company.

How do people get in touch?

Call 0800 689 4643, or visit our website where you can find out more, sign up to volunteer and recommend someone who could benefit from the service.

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