Unanimous praise of Sheffield older people charity’s loneliness support
A Sheffield charity scheme which aims to cut loneliness for hundreds of isolated older people in the city has had unanimously positive feedback, a survey has found.
Sheffield Churches Council for Community Care (SCCCC) commissioned the research into its Good Neighbour Scheme, which uses phone calls, pen pal postcards and home visits to help lonely older residents.
Nearly two thirds of those who responded to SCCCC’s survey said they felt lonely most of the time and almost a half said they had felt even more lonely during the pandemic.
But importantly every one of the dozens of service users interviewed said the charity’s Good Neighbour Scheme had had a positive impact on their lives.
Tammy Wilson, Good Neighbour Scheme Team Leader, said: “We’ve always been proud of our Good Neighbour Scheme and we’ve always received really strong, anecdotal feedback from older people about the impact our much-loved volunteers have on their lives. But this research has for the first time given us hard evidence of the real impact this scheme is having on the lives of dozens of older people right here in Sheffield, many of whom have no other means of company or support.
“Like so many of our activities, we’ve had to adapt our support during a challenging last 12 months, with friendship phone calls and new initiatives like pen pal letters becoming more important once face-to-face visits were suspended. We’re so, so grateful of all of the time our volunteers give though, without which none of this incredible feedback would have been possible.”
The customer feedback research was carried out by Sheffield Hallam University psychology students Nilla Urayathanjan and Olivia Barratt. They spoke to more than 100 SCCCC service users during March 2021.
SCCCC’s Good Neighbour Scheme aims to help the older members of the community by enhancing their quality of life. The service is provided free of charge with the basic aim of helping to combat loneliness for people over 65 living in Sheffield.