Edinburgh project Vintage Vibes helps over 60s find friendship with like-minded people.
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The award-winning Vintage Vibes project is marking Loneliness Awareness Week (June 12 to 18) by encouraging residents to offer companionship to like-minded older people with similar interests.
The project brings people together through friendship matches, groups and events to tackle social isolation in the over the 60s across Edinburgh – recently named the UK’s loneliest city for older people.
The situation has been exacerbated by the impact of the pandemic, with a 2022 Age UK study showing that one in three older people felt more anxious than before Covid and less motivated to do the things they enjoy.
Now in its eighth year, Vintage Vibes has helped more than 900 older people in the city to establish one-to-one friendships based on mutually shared interests, from baking to music, and even gaming. Events and groups focus on everything from sewing to singing, bringing people together for fun and friendship.
Vintage Vibes volunteer Alyssa Kuranowicz said: “I’ve had so much fun since becoming a volunteer with Vintage Vibes. I was introduced to a lovely lady called Betty based on our shared love of coffee and connecting with people.
"On top of our weekly coffee shop visits, Betty and I have also enjoyed going for milkshakes, attending concerts, going for beach walks, and attending events hosted by Vintage Vibes. Our connection has made a real difference to Betty’s wellbeing and quality of life and has also given me a great new friend and a lot of shared good times.”
Vintage Vibes is now seeking new Edinburgh-based volunteers to expand the project.
Development manager Georgia Artus said: “We’re delighted with the impact Vintage Vibes is making to the lives of older people and due to increasing demand, we’re seeking to expand our team of amazing volunteers. We’re looking for adults of all ages who can spare at least one hour each week, for a minimum of six months, to help an older person in need of friendship.
"During the pandemic, we all faced the kind of isolation many older people in the city suffer daily. Sadly, for a great many, that isolation will continue without our wonderful community of Vintage Vibes volunteers.”