Could you be a telephone befriender? We desperately need more volunteer telephone befrienders to help our isolated service users.
As people ‘return to normal’ with work and social commitments, understandably, many can’t commit to making phone calls.
Manager, Annie Clewlow says: “We are currently in touch with more than 600 of the city’s residents and have waiting lists for others who need help. We had an influx of volunteers at the start of the lockdown when people were furloughed and had time on their hands. We knew we would lose many of these as they were able to go back to ‘normal’ once restrictions started to lift. But our service users still remain mostly at home for safety reasons, so we desperately need more telephone befrienders.”
“Those we help were already isolated before the lockdown and, as they may be still at risk from COVID-19, they still can’t mix as they would have done before the pandemic struck.
“Our service users are mostly aged 70 plus and have wellbeing issues, and may be classed as vulnerable, so still need to minimise face-to-face contact. To add to this, we’re unable to safely hold our usual social gatherings to help get them out of their homes and chatting to others on a weekly basis.
“We’re keen to hear from anyone who may be able to devote 30 minutes, twice a week, to call someone who is lonely and isolated. They would really welcome a friendly voice on the end of the telephone to chat to. Research has showed that lacking social connections is as damaging to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and increases the likelihood of mortality by 26%, so the work our befrienders do is crucial to the wellbeing of our city’s residents.”
We’re inviting people from all walks of life and of all ages who have an hour to spare each week, two 30-minute slots, to get in touch.