A massive media drive to combat loneliness and isolation in Sheffield draws to a close after more than 100 people came forward to volunteer.
Sheffield Churches Council for Community Care (SCCCC) launched a Good Neighbour Scheme to recruit more telephone support volunteers after the charity revealed a growing waiting list of older people desperate for support.
Sharon Saunders, the volunteer coordinator at SCCCC, told Charity Today:
“We launched the campaign in response to a growing demand for our services- partly because of the pandemic and partly because the word is getting out about the support we can offer the thousands of people across the city for whom television is sadly their only friend.
“The response has been fantastic, and it’s amazing the difference a regular weekly or fortnightly telephone call can make to the lives of our service users.
“During the pandemic, we’ve moved from face-to-face visits to telephone support and also introduced our pen pal service, which has been popular.”
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 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 current Covid-19 restrictions continue to be lifted.
To find out more or to volunteer, contact Sharon Saunders at email@example.com or phone 0114 250 5292.