Could you make time for a 30 minute conversation that can make a huge difference to someone’s life?
The Befriending Partnership are continuing to help tackle isolation through their telephone befriending service. Set up part of the amazing response from community organisations in Kirklees during the coronavirus lockdown, this vital service is supporting older people and vulnerable adults.
The partnership is led by the Yorkshire Children’s Centre and Age UK Calderdale and Kirklees. They are still receiving daily referrals for people who are at home and feeling lonely. This is a key time when we’re once again more isolated from each other and when we’re heading towards the colder winter months. They really need more volunteers.
Could you give up a small amount of your time to have a conversation with someone in need?
Full training (via Zoom) and support will be provided to help more people take up this important role. Not sure how to use Zoom? Support will be provided to help you.
The Befriending Partnership are helping to tackle isolation through a telephone service set up to support older people and vulnerable adults, as part of the community response during the coronavirus lockdown.
Volunteers who give their time to the Befriending Partnership are matched with citizens who are known to the organisations as needing contact, to make sure they are okay in their homes and to help reduce feelings of isolation.
The telephone befriending service is led by Community Connections at the Yorkshire Children’s Centre and Age UK Calderdale & Kirklees.
We spoke to Christine Rhodes, Service Manager for Community Connections, about how people have been making connections and helping each other during lockdown.
“In the last few weeks we have seen our volunteer numbers grow to 90, and we have made 56 matches to those who need befriending phone calls. Our volunteers spend between 2 to 4 hours a week on calls with vulnerable or isolated people. We try and match people with similar interests and in the same local areas, with the hope they will carry on befriending afterwards, hopefully face to face.
“Of the 90 volunteers we have at the moment, around 35 have been forwarded from Kirklees Council’s call for volunteers and from staff that have been furloughed from elsewhere. The other volunteers have come in from all areas and walks of life.
“Referrals for the service come in from the Covid-19 Community Response team, from the community anchor organisations network and also now from the mutual aid groups who are doing brilliant work all over Kirklees.”
The volunteers not only phone people to have a friendly chat, but also receive training from the Befriending Partnership to help identify if someone needs other kinds of support. You can read Mark’s story on the Volunteering Kirklees blog to find out more about the experience for volunteers.
Christine told us that, until recently, one person was getting their shopping delivered. The volunteer identified that this had stopped and was able to feedback this information via a new app the Befriending Service are using. This resulted in a referral being made, making sure that the person received the essential supplies they needed.
The service continues to grow and more people are being welcomed to volunteer. We know there are many compassionate people in Kirklees who are keen to offer friendly phone calls to others. We’ve asked the people who have volunteered to offer this kind of support via our Covid-19 Community Response whether we can share their details with the Befriending Partnership.
We’re delighted to say that this has already resulted in a surge of new volunteers. Training is provided for all volunteers and enhanced ID checks are carried out routinely to make sure we are keeping vulnerable people safe.
“The Befriending Service is very important and is still growing. We know this is true of other support services too. We’re very supportive of the Mutual Aid Group network and the amazing work they’re doing too. It’s all about making sure vulnerable people don’t fall through the gaps and we’re doing all we can.
“I hope the volunteers signed up to the Befriending Service now, will continue to volunteer when we come out of the other side. And I hope those volunteering elsewhere in their communities continue as well.”
If you are interested in being a Telephone Befriender with full training and support please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call the team on 01422 252 040 for more information.
If you, or someone you know, would like telephone befriending support please let us know via our Covid-19 Community Response online form, or call our Freephone helpline: 0800 4561114.
Find out more about the Befriending Partnership
There are five organisations involved in the wider Befriending Partnership in Kirklees. During the Covid-19 Community Response, the specific telephone befriending service has been set up by the Yorkshire Children’s Centre and Age UK Calderdale & Kirklees. They are also working closely with the Royal Voluntary Service and some of the volunteers have been matched with people on their waiting lists too.
The death of someone close is one of the hardest things anyone has to deal with. At this difficult and distressing time, sadly more people than ever will be affected. Here are some organisations you can contact and places where you can find information and guidance.
Family Care Team – Kirkwood Hospice
The Family & Spiritual Care Team at Kirkwood Hospice provides emotional and psychological support for those living with, affected by or bereaved through a life limiting illness.
The team are now providing a telephone counselling service. If you would like to speak to them about making a telephone appointment, please call Kirkwood Hospice on: 01484 557908.
You can find out more about the support available on their website:
Cruse Bereavement Care has been providing life-changing bereavement support to people across the UK for over 60 years, mainly through face-to-face and group sessions. Due to the current situation, all of their support is currently being provided by telephone or email, until it is safe to return to normal working practices.
If you are bereaved, you can contact the helpline – 0808 808 1677
The helpline is open Monday to Friday from 9.30 am to 5pm (excluding bank holidays), with extended hours on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings, when they are open until 8pm.
Sudden is a charitable initiative for suddenly bereaved people and the people who are caring for them. Looking after yourself, whether you are bereaved or a carer, is of the utmost importance and will help you to cope at this very challenging time. Sudden offer online advice and have a helpline.
The helpline is currently open Monday to Wednesday between 10am and 2pm. Sudden are working hard to expand their opening hours, so please check their website for updates. You can also leave a message at any time and they will call you back during opening hours.
Grief and Loss Support Service – West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership
The West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership Grief and Loss Support Service is for anyone suffering any form of grief and loss, or those worried about losing someone, whether this relates to a family member, friend or member of their community.
Practical and emotional support and advice is available from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week via a freephone number 0808 1963833, or online chat facility. The team can offer support and help connect you with organisations local to you, who can offer additional help where needed.