accessibility & help

AM visits British Red Cross over 50s group

14 August 2012

Assembly Member for North Wales Mark Isherwood spent time learning first aid with a group of over 50s taking part in a unique British Red Cross project on Friday (10.08.12).

The group of 16 individuals have been meeting every week in Ruthin, Denbighshire, and taking part in different activities including yoga and everyday first aid – a simplified and easy way to learn basic first aid skills.

The scheme is part of Gofal, a project supporting vulnerable people over 50 in north Wales. The project is funded under the Big Lottery Fund’s now closed £20 million AdvantAGE programme, which aims to improve the quality of life for people aged over 50 in Wales.

Mark Isherwood said: “It was a great pleasure to attend the Red Cross' Everyday First Aid session in Ruthin and to see how effectively this engaged with the same people it also supports through its Gofal Befriending scheme. It is reassuring to see that the Red Cross is reaching the places and people that formalised services often do not and it deserves support and congratulations accordingly.”

Gofal – meaning “care” in Welsh - is a befriending and enabling service. In 2011, the Project received a £1 million grant from the Big Lottery Fund allowing the charity to extend the Gofal service across all counties in North Wales, reaching 600 vulnerable people in Anglesey, Gwynedd, Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire and Wrexham every year for five years.

Volunteers visit vulnerable older people in their homes for up to 12 weeks, helping them to combat loneliness and isolation and encourage social interaction by linking them up with services and social groups in their local communities.

Groups similar to the one in Ruthin are being established across north Wales. They run for eight weeks and aim to get people out of their homes and meeting other people.

Each week the groups cover a different topic. These include sessions about healthy eating, the history of the Red Cross and therapeutic care. Other days members of the group have learnt relaxation techniques and been given an introduction to technology.

Sue Whalley, Red Cross senior team leader, said: “The aim of these groups is to give people confidence and get them meeting other people in the community. Hopefully friendships will spring up and these people will no longer be isolated in their homes – they will have someone else to talk to and spend time with.”

To find out more about Gofal visit