In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Re-engage (formerly Contact the Elderly), have suspended regular social gatherings in Hull east, Hull West, Cottingham and Beverley and have created a new service for older people called Call Companions.
The guests in the existing groups are receiving calls from volunteers and the team now have volunteer capacity to reach more older people. It is hoped that Call Companions will become a permanent addition to their work.
Call Companion’s is very simple: a volunteer calls the same older person between two and four times a month at a mutually agreed time for an informal chat. Calls will last for around 30 minutes. The programme is aimed at people who are:
- 75 or older
- Living alone or in sheltered housing with little or no contact with family or friends
- Struggle to leave their house in normal times
To fully benefit from the service the Call Companions ask that the older people have sufficiently good hearing to take on regular phone conversations.
All volunteers receive training, which includes safeguarding, signposting to other services, and how to engage in difficult conversations. Call Companions are supported by call coordinators who monitor the success of the partnership for both the older person and volunteer. If an older person takes part and subsequently decides it is not for them, there is an easy way for them to leave.
If you know anyone who would benefit from Call Companions, please refer them (with their consent) using the online form on the website here. Once the application is received the team will start the process of matching the older person with a volunteer and they will hear back as soon as possible.