Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 10.30.08Volunteers are sought by Teesside University researchers as part of a programme to reduce loneliness and isolation among older residents of Middlesbrough.

The aim of the Ageing Better Middlesbrough Programme, which is being led by Middlesbrough and Stockton Mind and was launched at Teesside University towards the end of last year, is to help tackle the issues of loneliness and isolation which impact on the health of the area’s older population.

Michelle Dawson, Ageing Better Middlesbrough’s Programme Manager, describes the programme as a chance to make a difference to the lives of older people through a range of projects, including supporting people in their own homes, peer friendship volunteering and specialist counselling.

Teesside University’s involvement in the programme is to research, gather and assess a wide range of information to provide useful feedback to the project. One way the University’s researchers will do this is by collecting people’s stories.

Dr Alison Jarvis, from the University’s School of Social Sciences, Business & Law, said: “This project is tackling a vital issue affecting older people in Middlesbrough, in a way which involves and engages them throughout.

“The University’s research will take the same approach; working with people every step of the way and encouraging them to lead activity by equipping them to investigate what they think is important.”

Alison and the research team are now seeking volunteers who can collect information in their own communities. No previous research experience is needed and volunteers can decide what level of involvement they can give, with training and support provided.

“Volunteers may want to help out with research we have already planned, or may want to lead their own study into areas we haven’t thought about,” said Alison.

A session to find out more about becoming a volunteer will be held at Teesside University, The Curve, Southfield Road, Middlesbrough, from 1.15pm to 3.15pm on Tuesday 17 May.

For further information contact Andrea Mountain at Teesside University on 01642 384476 or email a.mountain@tees.ac.uk