In this time of crisis, we at a community hub like Blythe Centre cannot just stand by and leave it to the authorities do it on their own. Yes, the centre itself is shut, but the project and its aims are still in place.
So, from this week, we are running a local ‘Phone Buddies’ system.
We are inviting anyone in the community who feels isolated, or would like to know they have someone to turn to, to join the scheme. The idea is that one of our project volunteers gives you a regular call just to check all is well.
Just phone us on 01782 485269, preferably between 9.30am–2.30pm, for more information and to register yourself. At other times, an answerphone may be on; please leave a message, and we’ll be back to you.
The same number if you want to volunteer to be a buddy.
Don’t worry if you don’t live in Blythe itself, we accepting applications from people for miles around!
What is a phone buddy?
It’s a basic, caring service: it is just one of our ordinary volunteers, who calls up and says: “how’s it going?” A reaching out, if you like.
However…. it is not for professional ‘counselling’ or for health information about the coronavirus, which would not be right.
But – if certain support is requested, e.g. for shopping or for help tracing other relatives, then the volunteers have been asked to refer the question back to the project organisers.
The wonderful thing is that we’ve had a terrific response from our volunteers. As of today, we could support one hundred members of the community.
We know that similar services have already been offered by ad-hoc community groups which have sprung up in a spontaneous way to respond to this crisis.
But, using our experience as part of the Care & Fun registered charity, we’ve taken a tiny bit longer to get started, because experience tell us this kind of thing needs to be done carefully and professionally.
All our volunteers are vetted and instructed; a complaints procedure (let’s hope it’s never needed) is in place; and we have a published policy document.
The policy has been recognised as good practice.
The project is being supported by Staffs County (Public Health and Prevention Department) and Support Staffordshire.
Over time, we may even be able to expand this work, with their help, including using the centre for the most vulnerable to get additional support.
We will get through this, of course we will, but helping each other along the way will make it a lot easier. And we hope this project contributes to that.
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