We are hoping businesses will allow staff to volunteer for our ‘Hello Southampton’ telephone service to help support the city’s vulnerable this year.
Communicare recently unveiled its new support service run with Social Care in Action (SCiA) and Southampton University offering regular scheduled phone calls to isolated or vulnerable people.
The charity’s Manager, Annie Clewlow says: “Back in May, we piloted our Hello Southampton project, which provides a new form of telephone support. The way it works is that vulnerable members of the community, for instance people living alone who would benefit from a regular check-in, can opt for a daily, or less frequent, phone call to see that all is well. The idea is to try to step in at a stage when there are minor difficulties, which, if left to progress, could become a major crisis.
“Now we are reaching out to businesses to offer their teams to volunteer for ‘Hello Southampton’ in the New Year through their corporate volunteering programmes. A few hours of strategic volunteering like this can create more impact than days of activity and can be very rewarding for those who volunteer too. We know many businesses now have teams working from home and are dealing with issues related to their wellbeing and potential isolation, so being involved with making calls for us could help them too.
“Our new service is particularly important with the current on-going pandemic, which is preventing people from socialising as normal and this can have an impact on their physical health and mental wellbeing.
“The idea is based on a scheme originally thought up more than 15 years ago, which became ‘Good Morning Northern Ireland’. We have been looking for an opportunity to provide something similar here in Southampton for a number of years, so leapt at the chance to give it a go when the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) offered us some funding to get it off the ground.”
Annie adds: “Communiteers act as good neighbours, generously making regular befriending telephone calls, safely driving people to urgent medical appointments and doing shopping for those unable to leave home at the moment, as well as providing other practical and emotional support.”
The charity’s Good Neighbours’ Network is currently supporting more than 560 individuals/families through tasks including one-to-one telephone befriending and transport for essential appointments and assistance with shopping.
Normally Communicare’s services are linked to hosting face-to-face social events, such as regular lunches and tea parties for service users, but the charity, understandably, is unable to organise these currently due to ongoing Government restrictions on gatherings.
Currently more of Communicare’s work is done via the telephone, post and online. The services Communicare provides are free to users, although beneficiaries are invited to make a donation if they are able to, and Communiteers are offered expenses.
Annie explains: “While we don’t require volunteers for face-to-face social events at the moment, we still have lots of people who need a check-in call. It is a lifeline and really brightens their days.”
Communicare’s new Hello Southampton telephone support service offers regular scheduled phone calls up to five times a week, Monday-Friday, to isolated or vulnerable people in Southampton.