Since the Day Sian left her Granny

Sian Brookes spoke on Sunday about work she is doing with the elderly, both in her professional training, placed at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, and also in Kentish Town, through her church, St Luke’s.

She spoke of her passion to reach out to isolated and lonely older people since an experience with her own Granny, who lives alone, got her thinking about the plight of older people across the country. Shortly after, she set up a small befriending service with the support of St Luke’s and some friends.

This encourages volunteers to visit the older people in their community, offering friendship, practical aid with gardening, DIY and shopping and help in getting out and about. With her husband Josh (who led our music) and a small group of friends, they also now run regular tea parties, attended by between 20 – 30 older people living near the church. Their vision is to put an end to loneliness and isolation amongst older people, a very serious and growing problem across London.

She also told us about her work at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, caring for the Chelsea Pensioners. She is part of the National Skills Academy for Social Care graduate scheme, training up young managers in organisations working with the elderly and people with learning disabilities. Whilst on this course, she has learnt about the huge struggles the social care sector is facing. The needs of our ageing population are putting a lot of pressure on health and social care budgets. Funding cuts lead to staffing issues, and on top of that, some media stories have created a bad reputation.

With all of these issues at play, she urged the church to see its vital role in meeting the huge need that is out there, most importantly to show God’s love and friendship to those who feel they have been forgotten by everyone else.