Reaching out to the city’s older people

COMMUNITY Jill Phipps, who signposts older residents to other organisations in Portsmouth

COMMUNITY Jill Phipps, who signposts older residents to other organisations in Portsmouth

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My name is Jill Phipps and I am the Older Person’s Advocate for the inner city parishes in Portsmouth.

Working alongside the clergy and members of the churches in central Ports-mouth, my role is to reach out to older people, their carers and families with the love and care of the church.

Anyone over the age of 65 comes within my remit, regardless of whether they have been members of a church or not, whether they have any faith or none – I am happy to take referrals from families, carers or older people themselves.

I link up with lunch clubs, coffee mornings and clubs in the area and visit people in their own homes.

I work with other organisations in the city to ensure I am aware of the services they offer, so that I can signpost people to what is available and help them.

Loneliness and isolation are huge problems for older people when family may have moved away and declining health reduces their ability to get out and about as they used to.

We run a monthly Sunday afternoon tea party group, collecting a group of older people who have no local family and few contacts and taking them to a volunteer’s home for tea and chat once a month.

We started this in October and have enjoyed a delicious tea, good chats and a lot of laughs each month since then.

I also offer spiritual care and have set up fortnightly services in a care home and in a sheltered housing scheme, where I can bring ‘church’ to the residents who are unable now to get to church as they used to.

I am very keen to raise awareness of the difficulties of living with dementia. I recently trained as a dementia champion and am encouraging all our churches to become ‘dementia friendly’.

By attending a one-hour session, you can increase your awareness of this disease and learn some practical tips on how to help someone who is living with it.

If you would like to find out more about what I do or if I can help in any way, please get in touch on 07710 394 351 or email jill.phipps@portsmouthcathedral.org.uk.

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