Could you be a befriender? Your city needs you!
Communicare in Southampton is charity working towards eradicating loneliness and isolation in the city. They need more volunteer telephone befrienders to help its service users.
Communicare, which ran lunch clubs and activities for isolated, often lonely, residents pre-restrictions, says, as people ‘return to normal’ with work and social commitments, understandably, many can’t commit to making calls.
The charity’s 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, and 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.”
Communicare is a friendly, neighbourhood charity that enriches the lives of lonely and isolated people in and around Southampton.
They are 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.
Anyone who volunteers for them now will have their application and our recruitment process fast tracked. With the Government’s support, they’re getting references and DBS checks done as quickly as we can, so volunteers can be operational as soon as possible. Those wishing to help with befriending will go through the recruitment process as normal, with all the same policies applying. This will mean that we are confident about the safety of those they are trying to help.