Volunteers thanked after stunning response to Sheffield charity loneliness campaign
A massive media drive to combat loneliness and isolation in Sheffield is drawing to a close, after more than 100 people came forward to volunteer.
Sheffield Churches Council for Community Care (SCCCC) teamed up with The Star and BBC Radio Sheffield to recruit more telephone support volunteers after the charity revealed a growing waiting list of older people desperate for support.
Now the charity is using National Volunteers Week to say thank you to all those who signed up to lend their support during the campaign- plus those who already give up their time to support its popular Good Neighbour Scheme.
Sharon Saunders, volunteer coordinator at SCCCC, said: “We launched the campaign in response to a growing demand for our services- partly because of the pandemic and partly because word is getting out about the support we can offer the thousands of people across the city for whom television is sadly their only friend.
“The response has been fantastic and it’s amazing the difference a regular weekly or fortnightly telephone call can make to the lives of our service users.
“Volunteers Week is always a special time for us and the ideal opportunity to say a massive ‘thank you’ to all our amazing volunteers, including those who’ve signed up as part of this campaign. During the pandemic, we’ve moved from face-to-face visits to telephone support and also introduced our pen pal service, which has been really popular.”
Last year SCCCC warned that the city’s loneliness epidemic would only get worse as long, cold weeks of lockdown lay ahead for thousands of over 65s- many of whom have no friends or family they can call upon for support.
The charity cast its net wide in a bid to attract new volunteers to support its loneliness busting work- with anyone in South Yorkshire eligible to help out
Volunteers who came forward and successfully completed their induction and background checks are now spending an hour a week telephoning an isolated, older person.
SCCCC hopes that telephone calls may become friendly visits in the future, as current Covid-19 restrictions continue to be lifted.