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Open Age
Open Age was established in 1993 and we’re now celebrating over 25 years of championing an active life for older people. We work across Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster and Hammersmith and Fulham to enable anyone aged 50 or older to sustain their physical and mental fitness, maintain an active lifestyle and develop new and stimulating interests. At Open Age we provide opportunities for our…

Be Active supports older people to become more mobile and independent in their community. Volunteers work one-to-one for up to nine weekly sessions with people 60+ who have been prescribed physiotherapy exercises and physical activity goals. Assisting them in their exercises helps rebuild their confidence and ability to move around their home and communities. Open Age, which runs the Be Active project, is looking for volunteer activity buddies starting as soon as possible. You do not need any background in physiotherapy or with older people – just enthusiasm, commitment, empathy, a positive attitude toward empowering older people, and good communication skills. Open Age Coordinators and their NHS partners will train you and provide support throughout the programme. Once Volunteers are trained and matched with a client, they will spend about 1-2 hours with their client each week.

Please note, volunteers need to be 21 or older to work with Be Active. If you are 21 in the next couple of months, you can start your paperwork and training so that you're ready to go when your birthday arrives!

You can also read about one of our volunteer's thoughts on the role:

"From the first days of volunteering, I’ve felt the difference in my client’s outlook: I saw her confidence grow with each session and I noticed the physical improvement. She was no longer scared of walking and going outside, which also meant she was not at risk of becoming isolated anymore.

I’ve also noticed a difference within myself: having these nice walks and exercise sessions with my client reminded me how important it is to get away from a computer screen from time to time and enjoy the outdoors, nice conversations, and the importance of physical activity. Being kind and supportive of another person also teaches you to be kind to yourself."

Time commitment

After training, clients work with volunteers for up to 9 weekly sessions. Volunteers are encouraged to work with Be Active after their initial commitment but it is not required!
What measures have you put in place to ensure volunteers’ safety during COVID-19?
- Government guidelines followed regarding PPE and in-person meetings
- Virtual training where possible
- In-person training only through NHS partners (COVID restrictions permitting) and, if so, requires PPE/social distancing measures
- Outdoor visits encouraged where possible
- COVID risk assessment protocol followed for in-person meetings if they are to take place

This organisation is one of our community partner organisations.

Like all volunteer recruiters we work with, they have signed up to our service standards, agreeing to abide by our policy on partnership working.

In addition, the team here at Students’ Union UCL Volunteering Service is here to support you throughout your volunteering journey – you can get in touch at any time with any questions, queries or problems you encounter.