A FREE phone service which supports and befriends elderly, isolated people in Stafford is urging more people to come forward and volunteer.The Stafford Telephone and Friendship Facili- tators (Staff) has been phoning lonely and vulnerable residents of the borough for more than 12 months seeking to ensure the wellbeing of its clients and help to signpost them to other agencies and care providers where necessary.
Victoria Smith, Staff ’s development and co-ordinating officer, said the service provided an essential lifeline to some of the area’s most vulnerable and complemented existing voluntary and statutory organisations whose aim was to increase the welfare and health of people in need.
“The promise Staff makes is ‘on the agreed day, at the agreed time, make a cup of tea, sit back and we will call you’,” she said. “The friendly voice of a telephone befriender will then chat to them about anything and everything sport, television, family, gardening, local and national news or hobbies.
“Someone is showing they are interested in them and their lives, helping to lift their spirits, so they don’t feel so alone.”
Ms Smith said clients already part of the scheme included people with physical disabilities, who were unable to get out and miss the spark of social interaction.
“Over a period of time a friendship between the caller and the client is established,” she said.
Ms Smith said one client who had suffered a stroke and found themselves increasingly isolated at home was convinced by a Staff befriender to join the Stroke Club where he found he could interact with other people experiencing similar disappointments and frustrations.
Another client who was experiencing financial difficulties was assisted to access benefits which he had not realised he was entitled to.
If you know someone who would benefit from the service or if you would like to volunteer as a befriender call 01785 226 324 or email Victoria.email@example.com.