We Urgently Need More Telephone Volunteers - Would Suit People on Furlough

We Urgently Need More Telephone Volunteers – Would Suit People on Furlough

We are urgently calling for more volunteers to help support the city’s vulnerable as demand for our services increase.

We are looking for help with our ‘Hello Southampton’ telephone service and people on furlough can participate as volunteering will not impact on their payments.

The charity’s Manager, Annie Clewlow says: “We launched our telephone support service back in May 2020 and it has been a huge success. Vulnerable members of the community, such as people who live alone, can opt to receive 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.

“Demand for the telephone service has dramatically increased as we are in lockdown once again and many people are finding it a lonely time, so we’re calling on the good people of Southampton to volunteer their time to check in on these individuals.

“As well as demand for the service increasing in general, we have also been asked to provide a follow up service for anyone who has received the COVID-19 vaccination and who might live alone. The NHS has asked us to call them to make sure all is well.

“If anyone out there currently on furlough is looking for something worthwhile to fill their time while off work, we would encourage them to give volunteering a go. It won’t affect their furlough payments and it is an immensely rewarding thing to do.”

The idea for the service was based on a scheme originally thought up more than 15 years ago, which became ‘Good Morning Northern Ireland’. Communicare had been looking for an opportunity to provide something similar in Southampton for a number of years, so leapt at the chance to give it a go when the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) offered it some funding to get it off the ground.

Annie adds: “Our volunteers 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.”

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 we provide 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.

Photo caption: Manager Annie Clewlow