Over 50's in Canley are
being encouraged to play more active roles as volunteers in
their community as part of a drive for better government for
Coventry has been
selected by the Government as part of a national pilot scheme,
Older Volunteers Initiative (OVI), which aims to use the skills
and experience of the over 50's to tackle local issues from
crime and safety to families and care.
The initiative is being
administered by the Canley & Tile Hill Area Co-ordination
Team and John Mason, a long-standing volunteer himself, has been
appointed to run the project.
"Canley is a
compact area with quite a large older population and new
residents groups have recently been formed. There are already
a number of ways the community uses the services of
"I shall be
contacting all the groups and organisations that could use
older volunteers to let them know about this new initiative. I
will also be leafleting the area to encourage more people to
"There is a
wealth of untapped experience in our older population which
can be channelled to help the community as a whole. Older
people should never have to feel isolated or unwanted.
"There are life
skills that older people can pass on to youngsters. Older
people have fascinating stories of their own childhood and
lives to tell schoolchildren who might want to compile an oral
history of their neighbourhood.
"The new Credit
Union will also need volunteers to help run it and sometimes
the very elderly and the housebound need something as simple
as a lift in order to get out to socialise.
"It is my job to
find out from the community where volunteers can be of help
and then find the over 50's whose interests and activities
match up. Hopefully I can bring them together for the good of
the community as a whole."
Bret Willers, Area Co-ordinator
for the South West, said both young and old would benefit.
Volunteers Initiative is a great way for the over 50s to meet
new people and get more involved in their community, whether
helping young or old people. It is an ideal way of bridging
the generation gap for the good of everyone."
OVI has also won the
backing of Coventry City Council Cabinet Member (Service
Co-ordination) Councillor Phil Townshend, who said:
"There seems a
perception that once you reach 50 you have nothing to
contribute to society, but age brings great advantages in
terms of knowledge and experience.
"I really hope
people come forward to volunteer so that the scheme work well
and maybe then it could be extended to other areas."