In April 2020 as a direct result of the feedback we received from our visually impaired service users, we developed and launched a telephone befriending service. This service was developed to fill the void created by the suspension of our face-to-face services due to the COVID 19 crisis. Its main aim is to alleviate the overwhelming feeling of loneliness and isolation that so many visually impaired people have been experiencing throughout 2020.
Using existing volunteers and newly recruited ones, we quickly rolled this service out across the county. Now we have over 100 service users in receipt of a regular call from a lovely volunteer.
In its simplest form, the service provides essential company, conversation and a link to the local community. Additionally, it provides a regular welfare check and if issues are identified by the volunteer they are referred to our staff for attention.