Friendline launched to help overcome loneliness

14/01/15

This month a new telephone befriending service has been launched to help people overcome loneliness and isolation. Friendline, run by the West Cornwall Befrienders project, has grown out of the success of their face-to-face befriending project and will enable volunteers to reach even more people who are living alone.

For the past 10 years a team of committed volunteers from West Cornwall Befrienders have regularly met up with socially isolated people providing them with much-needed company and a friendly chat. Now with the launch of Friendline they aim to reach considerably more people whilst also offering an additional service to existing friends.

Fran is a retired care worker who now volunteers one day a week: “I used to work as a home carer and often my clients wouldn’t speak to anyone else in between my visits. I was very aware of what a difference a 10 minute phone call could make to them. Since retiring I have become a volunteer with West Cornwall Befrienders so that I can help to make that difference.”

Mitch, who also volunteers adds; “Friendline is about listening and chatting to people. It is not a specialised counselling service so you don’t need professional training to volunteer, anyone can do it.”

Half of all people over 75 in England live alone* , and many don’t have regular contact with friends, family or neighbours. Friendline, funded by the Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales, offers a regular friendly phone call to people over 50 years old who are feeling lonely and isolated.

Anne Oxley, Manager of the Penwith Volunteer Bureau which runs the West Cornwall Befrienders project, says: “Cornwall has a growing population of older people who are living longer but who find themselves increasingly cut off from their local community. Friendline provides a welcome opportunity for people to talk about their lives helping them to feel valued and listened to.”

West Cornwall Befrienders are looking for more volunteers who can spare an hour or more a week to help make a difference to others. For information on how to get involved with Friendline, contact David Tyack on 01736 334658 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . There is also more information on the Penwith Volunteer Bureau website www.pvb.org.uk.

*51% of all people aged 75 and over live alone (ONS, 2010)

 

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