E Norfolk churches launch phone contact scheme
A new initiative, called ‘Two’s Company’, is being launched in February by a number of churches in Gorleston, Great Yarmouth, Bradwell and Belton - a lifeline to those who feel cut off from the outside world, particularly during the Covid-19 crisis.
‘Two’s Company’ is a telephone befriending programme being run through churches across the UK to respond in a relevant way to the Covid-19 pandemic. Many people are more isolated now than ever and this approach provides a way for local people to stay in touch by telephone on a regular basis. The scheme is aimed at those most vulnerable to the effects of social isolation due to age, location, health, or other factors.
Volunteers from local churches form a team of telephone befrienders. Referrals for phone calls are made to the Coordinator, and they then match a telephone befriender with someone requesting a phone call, called a ‘Link Friend’. The Link Friend will receive a phone call from their befriender at least once a week for 4 months or more, providing much needed companionship during this difficult time.
Since mid-March 2020, the number of people who are self-isolating has increased rapidly, with those over 70 or with pre-existing health conditions strongly advised against physical contact with the outside world for much of last year.
For some of these people, this will have meant no contact with anyone, leading to profound loneliness and a deterioration in their mental health. Although physical contact is not currently possible outside support bubbles, a telephone call can be crucial to those who would otherwise experience extreme loneliness.
The initiative is being set up in conjunction with Linking Lives UK, a national Christian befriending charity that has already established face to face befriending projects in over 30 towns and villages across the country.
Jeremy Sharpe, the national director for Linking Lives UK said “We have been able to adapt our existing framework quickly and easily to be used by local churches for talking on the phone rather than face to face. It is our hope that more and more churches will want to reach out to their communities in this way during this time of need.”
For more information, or to request a regular call yourself, contact the local co-ordinator : Anna Heydon, as follows:
Or phone: 0800 9991848 from 9 to 11 am, Monday to Thursday.
This is based on an article at Imagine Norfolk Together.
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