THE outstanding success of a Sheffield campaign to tackle loneliness amongst older people has prompted the charity behind it to expand its team.
Sheffield Churches Council for Community Care (SCCCC) launched a campaign to recruit more telephone support volunteers after revealing a growing waiting list of older people desperate for support.
Now the charity has appointed Lynn Smith as an extra volunteer co-ordinator after a surge in support swelled its volunteer army to almost 200.
“I wanted to work for SCCCC because I was deeply moved by the difference the charity makes to the quality of older people’s lives – no one should feel lonely in this day and age.
“Our volunteers do a fantastic job of reaching out to support isolated, older people in our city- many of whom have fascinating stories to tell. In doing so, they gain so much themselves – new connections, new skills and the happy feeling of knowing just an hour of their time has brightened someone’s day.”
Despite the success of its appeal, SCCCC says it still has isolated, older people in need of company and support in some postcodes- especially S2, S5, S6 and S12.
“Although the recent campaign generated a fantastic response from the public, we’re always on the look out for more people to support our work.
“Volunteers able to conduct face-to-face visits are particularly sought after- as our those who can speak alternative languages, including Bengali, Punjabi, Urdu or Arabic and those of African and Caribbean heritage.”
Last year SCCCC warned that the city’s loneliness epidemic would only get worse as long, cold weeks of lockdown lay ahead for thousands of over 65s- many of whom have no friends or family they can call upon for support.
The charity cast its net wide in a bid to attract new volunteers to support its loneliness busting work- with anyone in South Yorkshire eligible to help out.
Volunteers who came forward and successfully completed their induction and background checks are now spending an hour a week telephoning an isolated, older person.
SCCCC hopes that telephone calls may become friendly visits in the future, as Covid-19 restrictions are lifted.
To find out more, or to volunteer, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0114 250 5292.