A CHARITY which helps lonely and isolated older people has launched a fundraising campaign to boost its work.

The AVSED 22 campaign was launched this week and will raise money for Aireborough Voluntary Services to the Elderly, which provides vital support to people living in Yeadon, Guiseley, Rawdon and part of Apperley Bridge.

Volunteer Engagement Officer Michelle Phillips said: “As a charity we have been affected, like many others by the COVID 19 outbreak. Our members are all over 60 years old and have suffered from loneliness and social isolation in different ways. Since March we have had to close our social sessions which included social centres, exercise classes, coffee mornings, trips out and much more, which means the charity is losing income too.

“Loneliness is as damaging to our bodies as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. We are trying to make sure we can remedy this by keeping in touch with our members on the phone, with doorstep visits when dropping off shopping and prescriptions, and fish and chip deliveries on a Friday. We want to look into new digital solutions to keep everyone in touch with their friends, as well as making sure that moving forward we can fund new and innovative ways of meeting up. Sometimes our members don’t speak to another soul each week, and losing our services is making that worse. Fundraising is going to help us to provide a friendly face and voice more often.

“The AVSED 22 challenge runs from July 1 to August 31. We are looking for people to get creative with their fundraising as well as the traditional challenges. The staff are walking 22 miles which is the equivalent of the AVSED boundary, we have a member who is doing 22 exercises a day for 22 days, someone is knitting 22 items and selling them, and other people are just donating £22.

“You could have a yard sale from your COVID declutter and donate the money raised to us, or a 22 hour sponsored silence. You could even give up your favourite treat for 22 days. Anything is possible.

“We are turning to our amazing community to ask us to help keep our services going, and to help adapt and grow what we can offer whilst keeping our members safe and well. Aireborough is a very generous and community spirited place and we want to promote this and let our members know that they are not alone.

“There are lots of ways to get involved – visit our website www.avsed.org.uk or our Facebook page www.facebook.com/avsedaireborough and download a sponsor form or set up an online fundraising page with Virgin Money Giving. Search for the hashtag #avsed22 on twitter and Instagram too. Share the posts with your friends and family and get as many people involved as you can.”