A Sheffield charity providing much-needed support to isolated older people across the city has been forced to pause its flagship anti-loneliness service after new Covid-19 restrictions were announced.
Sheffield Churches Council for Community Care (SCCCC) says it still needs volunteers to provide remote support like telephone calls and letter writing to help the thousands of older people now facing a long winter alone.
The plea comes after the charity had to suspend its friendly visiting as part of the Good Neighbour Scheme, with the mixing of households indoors prohibited in South Yorkshire from Wednesday (14 October).
SCCCC will still be taking referrals for those older needing additional support at home, as well as its Hospital to Home, and A&E to Home schemes which will continue to run as normal.
Mark Storey, CEO at SCCCC, said:
“It is with a heavy heart that we need to pause our Good Neighbours Scheme once more. It feels like a huge step back, but the priority remains that we need to keep our service users and volunteers safe.
“We also, like previously, still need to deliver our key services and reduce isolation and loneliness in our older community. Whilst our telephone service isn’t the same as face to face visits, a friendly phone call will hopefully help in the interim. Our Pen pal letters and cards should also provide a welcome comfort in these ever-changing times.
“We will restart our service once the government and local authority deem it is safe to do so. But in the meantime, we are still here for support for those who need it.”
SCCCC’s Good Neighbour Scheme aims to help the older members of the community by enhancing their quality of life. The service is provided free of charge with the basic aim of helping to combat loneliness for people over 65 living in Sheffield.
For information, or to register to volunteer, please visit www.scccc.co.uk