Celebrating one year of friends on the phone
1st Apr 2021 - Written by Katy Westaway
Reading time: 3 minutes
This April will mark the one year volunteering anniversary for 19 of our fantastic volunteers at Brunelcare. Almost a year ago, the telephone befriending initiative began, otherwise affectionately known as ‘friends on the phone’.
Throughout the pandemic, our Friends on the Phone service has provided some much needed support, companionship and a good number of laughs. We have matched 58 relationships so far. It has been and continues to be an isolating time for many and we hope to continue the service for as long as people feel they would benefit.
Many of our residents have taken well to the scheme, and have found that regular chats with their volunteer befriender has had a really positive impact on their wellbeing. We’ve been catching up with some of our pairs to see how they’ve found the first year, in their own words!
Ted and Becky
Ted was first paired with Becky after she saw the scheme advertised on Facebook. She says: “I had initially volunteered for the NHS first responder role, but I couldn’t get any calls. After finding this opportunity, I decided that I wanted to get involved!”
Asked how they’ve found the experience so far, both agree that whilst they don’t always have the most in common, they always find things to talk about each week, and conversation is never short!
Ted and Becky believe that they have made great friends with each other. Becky tells us
I’ve definitely made a really good friend in Ted. I’ll certainly try to continue with the calls, even though I’m now back to work and not on furlough.
Ted finishes by saying
She’s a really good friend and I would say that I’ve made a friend for life. I would definitely like to continue with the scheme
Mike and Nicki
Mike and Nicki became friends on the phone when Nikki began looking for voluntary opportunities after taking retirement from the NHS. Meanwhile, Mike was sent a card by Brunelcare inviting him to take part. Mike decided to take the opportunity and has loved it!
It’s been amazing. We used to live really close together, just a few streets down the road from each other. We always find things to talk about, and we get on really well. I learnt the ukulele from Nicki too, and after our appearance on Points West, I had lots of people getting in touch- I found I had connections that I never knew about before!
Having volunteered in the scheme for almost a year, we asked Nicki whether she would recommend it to others:
I would definitely recommend it. I consider myself lucky that it is so easy to talk to Mike. In his own way, he is quite young- he has a young outlook in the way he views things! I think elderly people on their own, knowing they have a conversation on the phone and not just text, it’s another interest, and I think it’s really important and beneficial during these times
For information on how you can volunteer with us at Brunelcare, click here.