Healthwatch North Lincolnshire have worked in partnership with North Lincolnshire Council to launch a Telephone Buddy Service to support residents during the coronavirus pandemic. Since March more than 260 calls have been made to 40 people.
The scheme aims to reduce the sense of isolation some of the more vulnerable people across our area may be experiencing during this time by establishing a friendly support network.
As part of the service, residents who contact the council’s contact centre are provided with Healthwatch’s details. From there, a volunteer is matched to them and will call on a regular basis to provide advice and company, signpost them to other support, or simply have a friendly chat.
The scheme is available to anyone living in North Lincolnshire, and to date, volunteers have had more than 80 hours of conversation, supporting a variety of people aged between 38 and 93.
Carrie Butler, Manager at Healthwatch North Lincolnshire, explained:
“Before the outbreak we were preparing a project to explore the impact of social isolation on mental and physical health. While the pandemic disrupted this, we were determined to support people in need and decided to launch the Telephone Buddy Service.
“The scheme has been a great success, with most people allocated a volunteer on the day they contacted us. The number of people using the service and members of the public wishing to volunteer have increased on a daily basis, it has been incredible to see how the project has evolved.
“I would personally like to thank our volunteers for the excellent support they have provided. The conversations have proved a real lifeline to people in need, and we have received some brilliant feedback.”
Healthwatch North Lincolnshire is the independent champion for anyone who uses health and social care services in the area.
In addition to the Telephone Buddy Service, they are sharing information on changes to local services, keeping the public aware of what support is available locally and how to access this.
As well as this, Healthwatch have also been sending out a new ‘Good Morning Report’ on weekdays to more than 400 subscribers. This provides a summary of any COVID-19 related news, followed by some more light-hearted national and local news articles, brain teasers and puzzles.
For more information about any of the Healthwatch services, or if you’d like to register to volunteer, please visit the Healthwatch North Lincolnshire website, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01724 844986.