A service that is helping reach out to the lonely and housebound is appealing for more volunteers.
Silver Talk, run by housing provider Isos, needs more volunteer call-handlers to join its nine-strong team which keeps in regular, weekly contact with elderly tenants.
Operating from Isos’ offices in Burn Lane, Hexham, the free and confidential befriending service is available to tenants across Northumberland, who can apply to receive one or more calls per week.
Set up just a year ago, it is now accessed by 19 users. Contact the supported housing team on 0300 300 1505.
Supported housing team leader, Lindsay Warren, said: “Older people can become very isolated, particularly if they live in some of Northumberland’s smaller, more rural communities. This service is all about trying to prevent that in a very simple way – with a phone call.
“Our volunteers do a fantastic job and we would love to be able to reach more people, particularly in the run-up to Christmas and into the new year. This can be a difficult and lonely time for some, when a service like this can be a real lifeline.”
Volunteer call-handler, Joan Shaw, knows first-hand the benefits of the service. A former GPO telephonist, she has been volunteering with Silver Talk since June last year.
“They always say they look forward to the calls and I feel like they do get something out of it,” she said.
“The first time I spoke to the resident, who is blind, she said she was very nervous about using the service, but I told her a little bit about myself and we soon got chatting. Now, we talk about all sorts of things.”