New Girl Guide badge for youngsters reaching out to the lonely

  • 4000 Girl Guides take part in pilot scheme befriending the elderly
  • Scheme aims to bridge age barrier and end isolation of OAPs

Girl guides are being given a new badge for visiting lonely elderly people in Manchester.

Four thousand Girlguiding Manchester Rainbows, Brownies, Guides are taking part in the pilot scheme to break down age barriers and tackle loneliness.

The specially-designed badge will emphasise the importance of communities working together, especially after the Manchester Arena attack.

After visiting the sheltered housing court, one Rainbow said: “Can we go back every week?”

Another one added: “I made a new friend (Margaret 72), when can we come again and a third said I like doing our activities together.”

Helen Salvini, Girlguiding Manchester assistant county commissioner, said: “Young people are often portrayed poorly in the media so it’s fantastic to have this opportunity to showcase the good work that they do.”

The activities put on by Girl Guides and Brownies included: putting on a play at sheltered housing in Manchester, arranging a special indoor campfire with storytelling and craft sessions

Veronica Armstrong, 67, of Northenden, said: “Me and my age group have the time to spend with children and we can give a different view on life. We also have skills we can show them like sewing, learning to knit and doing gardening.

“Plus a lot of my friends miss their families because they don’t live near their own children or grandkids and they would really like to have ongoing involvement with children’s projects.”

The badge was the idea of the Manchester Health Care Commission (MHCC) who began the trial badge last Christmas.

Ian Williamson, chief accountable officer at the MHCC, said: “Loneliness can be devastating in both its physical and psychological effects, especially for older people.”