Pen Friends Project!

From Dundee Volunteer and Voluntary Action :

“We are pleased to announce a collaboration with the Companionship Society at the University of Dundee and are overwhelmed by the number of students keen to be pen friends with older people.  They have their pens and notepads poised but we need pen friends for them to write to.   Can you help?  

Why not make it our New Year’s resolution to sign up to something completely different and make friends with someone you wouldn’t normally be in contact with.  

Do you know someone who might like to do this?  Why not sign up yourself or refer a friend.  You will be matched up with people bases on your hobbies and favourite pastimes.  

We will provide you with paper and stamps and you can reply at your own leisure.  

Get in touch on with Clare on 07983 707168 or Jordan on 07983 706626 if you would like to find out more.”

Removal of Universal Free TV Licence – some helpful advice

Residents may recall my recent Facebook article on 30th July expressing my concern and disappointment that, from the 1st August, the free TV licence for all over 75s was removed. 

Instead, the BBC has introduced a new scheme that offers free TV licence assistance to only some over 75 households.

Dundee Volunteer and Voluntary Action has given some helpful advice about how to continue to get a free licence :

“To be eligible, the licence holder must be 75 years or older and you, or your partner living at the same address, must be in receipt of Pension Credit.

Pension Credit is one of the benefits that is not well claimed.  

To check if you qualify for this or other benefits such as Housing Benefit, council Tax Reduction or Attendance Allowance you can contact either Welfare Rights at Dundee City Council on 01382 431188 (option 2) or by email on or you call the Age Scotland Helpline on 0800 12 44 222. 

Being in receipt of Pension Credit not only enables you to receive a free TV licence,  but also allows access to other benefits too.

If you had a free TV Licence up to 31 July, you don’t need to do anything just now to stay licenced.

TV Licensing has started to write out to all those affected asking them to pay or apply for a free one.  This may take a couple of months.   They will explain in their letter to you what you need to do to set up your next licence.  These letters should arrive within the next couple of months and the licensing authority has confirmed that currently you continue to be covered.”

The following information is from Age Scotland :

“We want you to be aware of how to spot a scam letter or email regarding this, so please be advised that TV Licensing will only ask you to pay using the following options:

By post using the address:  TV Licensing, PO Box 578, Darlington, DL98 1AN

Online at or

Over the phone on 0300 790 6151

If you are contacted and asked to pay for your TV licence using a different phone number, a different website or by posting your details to a different address you have been contacted by a scammer.

If you are unsure about anything, you can call TV Licensing on 0300 303 9695 to speak with someone who can help.  

If you have been scammed then we need to know about it, so please report this to Police Scotland on 101.”

Everyday Packs

Thanks to funding received from the Big Lottery Supporting Communities Fund Dundee Volunteer and Voluntary Action has been able to support a really good project for Dundee’s older people.  
Working in partnership with Dundee Community Transport, HOPE – Helping Older People Engage, Grey Lodge Settlement and volunteers from  it has put together ‘Everyday Packs’ for distribution to the older people’s community in Dundee.  
The Everyday Packs will contain a small bottle of hand sanitiser and either a reusable washable face mask or 5 disposable masks.  
These packs are for those who are:
• aged 55+
• socially isolated – so who don’t have any support networks in place that can get these items for them
• digitally excluded – so are unable to purchase them online themselves
• whose general wellbeing will be improved as a result of receiving this
We know that older people who have being shielding and who haven’t been out the house for the past 15 weeks are concerned about going into a shop to purchase a mask and hope that this will be able to alleviate some of their concerns.  These packs are designed as a helping hand to enable older people to get out safely in the first place. 
Given the Scottish Government’s instruction that everyone is to wear a face covering in all shops from 10th July, referrals have been accepted from Monday 13th July and packs will be delivered approximately 1 week after applying.
If interested, please contact Shirley by email on or call Georgie-Ann on Dundee 305721 (Mon to Fri 10am – 1pm only).  
Dial OP can also receive referrals by contacting Dundee 305757. 

Have A Go Activity Packs!

A really useful update from Dundee Volunteer and Voluntary Action :
“We are working in partnership with HOPE and Grey Lodge to put together activity packs to encourage older people to continue to keep active during lockdown.  We want them to know that they are not alone and to encourage them to keep active both mentally and physically.  These packs will provide practical items to keep people active during the ongoing restrictions therefore helping with their overall health and wellbeing. These packs will be hand delivered by volunteers and allow people to feel connected to the community and give reassurance they have not been forgotten.  The packs will also contain information on services that can help during this time again to help the person feel supported. 
We are concerned about the numbers of older people who are telling us that they are worried about the restrictions lifting and as a result are scared to go out and get back to whatever the new ‘normal’ will look like as well as those who are keen but who will have lost their physical strength.  
For each referral, we will deliver 3 activity packs to older people identified as being socially isolated, digitally excluded and who are needing a little something to keep them going that will improve their wellbeing and positivity – at the start of July, August and September. 
The first will contain activities to improve mental health and keep the brain ticking over; the second will look at physical health and the 3rd will contain information on what redesigned services might look like by then with social distancing measures in place. 
The first activity pack will be issued at the end start of July and will provide practical items to keep people active during the ongoing restrictions of lockdown both mentally and physically therefore helping with their overall health and wellbeing.  The packs will include adult activity puzzles, colouring in books, colouring pencils atc and service information sheet for those needing support.  Books and jigsaws can be added on request. 
The second activity pack will be issued at the start of August and will take the form of a newsletter that will address mindfulness and physical health.  We will include more strength building easy exercises sheets to help prevent falls.  Additional activity sheets will be provided along with local history stories and puzzles. 
This pack will also address what supporting people will need to get back out into the community. 
The third pack will be delivered at the start of September hopefully when restrictions in the greatest part will be closer to being removed.  This pack will therefore be about looking forward and planning to get out and about again.  It will be in the form of a further newsletter and will contain information on local services that have re-opened/ are re-opening and what services’ new working procedures look like.   We plan to include a reusable face mask and hand sanitiser to add in to this pack as people may be wary of going out without these items and it has been difficult sourcing these items from local shops.
We are keen to reach people in particular who would struggle to gain access to this information otherwise as they dont have the digital means or social networks to keep them informed.
We are looking to reach people who are:

• aged 55 and over
• socially isolated
• digitally excluded
• and who’s wellbeing could be improved if they were to receive a pack.  
If interested, please contact Maureen at HOPE on 0300 123 2640 option 2 and ask for Maureen at HOPE or by using the email with the name, address, age and telephone number of the person you would like to receive this.  
Please note the closing date for referrals is this Friday – 3rd July – as we hope to deliver the following week. Numbers are limited. 
This project has been made possible due to funding received from The Big Lottery Supporting Communities Fund.”

Book delivery service

The following update is from Dundee Volunteer and Voluntary Action with grateful thanks – I am delighted to see this service being launched as I have had a number of constituents asking about how to access library books and this service will be a real help :
“Lots of the Older People’s Network told us that they were looking for books or jigsaws to keep them busy during lockdown whilst the library service is unavailable. We are working with the HOPE Project, Grey Lodge Settlement and Dundee West Church who have these items available.
If you or someone you know would like to request a hard copy of a book or jigsaw, please contact Maureen and she will arrange a volunteer through our Get Local Support project to pick one up and deliver it to you. We are unlikely to be able to pick preferred authors for you due to limited supplies, so it will be more of a surprise!
Please note that these items should be quarantined for 48 hours for paperbacks or 72 hours for plastic covered books (like library books) and wiped down before use.
If you have any books or jigsaws that you would like to donate, please get in touch with Maureen.
For more information or to request a delivery please contact Maureen on or call 0300 123 2640 extension 5731.”

Shopping and Prescription Support

Dundee Volunteer and Voluntary Action has now started a voluntary shopping and prescription service, thanks to the wonderful volunteers helping to provide this.
If you would like a volunteer to do your shopping for you, you can arrange this either by completing the form online at: or by calling the Dial-OP line, weekdays between 9am and 5pm on 305757.
It has set up an invoicing system to allow you to pay for your shopping after it has been delivered in response to people telling them they were worried about running out of cash at home and having to go out to withdraw money in order for volunteers to do their shopping for them. This is an alternative for the people who are no longer able to pay with cash and hope that this will allow them to continue to get the shopping in that they want without having to leave the house or put themselves at more risk.

Boccia Festival – a great event for the over 50s!

From Dundee Voluntary Action :
The Boccia Festival is taking place tomorrow – Monday – between 10.30am and 1.30pm at DISC.  
If you have never played Boccia before, come along and have a go!  Suitable for beginners.  Boccia can be played standing up or sitting down and ramps can be provided if you have a limited strength or range of movement. 
Remember, we have OPEN Funded Boccia equipment available for loan to over 55s, so this would be a good opportunity to learn how to use it.  We are also keen to start a new Boccia League for interested people.
Individuals and teams of 3 welcome.  You can register in advance or just come along on the day, but come along a little earlier so we can get you registered.   We need to know your name and age and if you consent to photos.
If you require transport, please get in touch on 305745 first thing tomorrow.  Refreshments and lunch provided.