Christina Savage, 33, decided she wanted to do something to help after reading in the news about the number of elderly people who were lonely and got in touch with several charities to see if she could volunteer.
But, as she looks after her 17-month-old son Reuben, she also asked if she could take him with her thinking it would be nice for people who didn’t have any grandchildren or who weren’t able to see them often.
She was shocked, however, when the Wigan branch of Age UK answered with a one line email saying their insurance and procedure did not allow children on the visits.
Christina, of Hooten Lane, said: “The thought of an elderly person spending every waking moment alone is one that truly saddens me.
“My family live in Denmark so I too miss the company of relatives and cherish the afternoons I get to spend with my neighbours who are in their 70s and who adore my son.
“When I enquired about my 17-month-old son and I joining the visiting service for the elderly, I was baffled to be told that that insurance and procedures do not allow children to visit.
“Surely any issues could be addressed if the benefit was that parents could bring their children to spend time with older people suffering from loneliness.
“And although perhaps not everyone likes young children, I’m certain there are many older people living alone who would welcome the smiles and joy they bring.”
Chief Officer of Age UK Wigan Borough John McArdle explained that it is not their policy to allow staff or volunteers to take children to visit older people.
“This is done to protect both parties; our clients are sometimes unwell, disabled or have other needs which means that the environment for a visit can change quite quickly,” he said.
“Also, we have a responsibility to children, to ensure that they are not taken into an environment we cannot control. We will continue to deliver a variety of services and support designed to help older people live the best quality of life.”