The Telephone Friendship Groups have been developed out of a desire to support people who may be feeling lonely and isolated, and to engender peer support within communities.  Anyone can get involved in Telephone Friendship Groups, you don’t need internet access to take part. It’s an opportunity to speak to other people on a regular basis and might lead to you making new friends or getting involved in new activities in the future. It is also a great volunteering opportunity, giving you the chance to make other people feel less alone, you might get the chance to talk to other people with a similar interest to you - You’re never alone with a friend on the phone!


Frequently Asked Questions: 


How do the calls work?

Groups of up to six people will be brought together in the hour long calls for chats of a general nature, often replacing the face to face groups and clubs that existed before Covid-19.  The project also caters for those who wouldn't normally attend groups, preferring telephone contact.  People can refer themselves, or be referred by an organisation that supports them.  The calls are free for participants (assuming there are no special conditions from their own telephone service provider). 


A ‘host’ manages the call from a computer or laptop. The details of all participants will have been entered into the administrative area of the system and the host can request to either dial people in to the group call automatically, or participants can dial in to the conversation using a pin number.  People on mobiles who have free minutes on their phone package can dial in to the group call at no cost to the provider or themselves. 

Who can receive the calls?


Anyone can join in with telephone friendship groups. All participants must be ‘signed-up’ on to the system. This requires the completion of three documents relating to GDPR/Contact details, Equal ops monitoring, and baseline data for evaluation. All participants receive a sheet of information on the overview and etiquette – including reference to safeguarding.

How much time do volunteers need to be available for? 


A volunteer could expect to give up about 1 ¼ or 1 ½ hours for each group call, including logging on and then any action that might need to happen after a call has taken place. (Reporting that someone didn’t answer the call, any concerns, reporting a requirement for information etc.). Volunteer hosts could commit to one or more calls per week depending on their circumstances. It is also worth noting that calls could take place at any time, seven days a week. There are a number of telephone groups ranging from simple group chats, to themes including: men’s sheds, art and crafts, people living in Southbourne, weather watchers, bird watchers…. a real mix!

How long will the service last?


Although this was originally formed in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, to support people who were lonely and isolated and unable to attend their normal clubs, groups and activities, it has been recognised that loneliness and isolation is, has, and still will be a major issue to many people of any age (and particularly those who are older), so the expectation is for the programme to be an ongoing service. 

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