“It’s been so lovely just chatting with someone.” Sue (64), Burnley

At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, Lancashire Volunteer Partnership was faced with the challenge of continuing to support vulnerable people whilst following social distancing and ensuring the wellbeing of our many amazing volunteers.

Moving our face-to-face community support befriending to staying in touch by telephone, meant that our volunteers could safely continue supporting isolated and lonely people; for some of whom their volunteer is the only person they speak to. Telephone befriending can be a lifeline and makes a huge difference to people’s happiness, health and wellbeing.

A month on from lockdown, more than 500 telephone befriending calls take place almost every day. Lancashire Volunteer Partnership has received over 500 volunteer applications thanks to people wanting to reach out to others and help in these unprecedented times. One of those people whose life is brightened by regular calls from a volunteer, is Harry, age 83 and a widower. He said,

“Having a volunteer brings love into my life. It is so nice to know that there are people out there that care and help people like me.  For 69 years I had a wonderful marriage and I still miss her terribly. It’s nice to know that there is someone there to talk to and to listen to”.

Speaking about how the organisation has adapted to provide this new telephone befriending service, Lancashire Volunteer Partnership Operations Manager Julie Sumner said,

“At a time of crisis, volunteers and staff have been incredibly flexible and adaptable, providing a speedy support network and service to some of the most isolated and vulnerable members of our community. Telephone befriending volunteers have been totally amazing and make a huge difference to the people they call, some of whom do not speak to anyone else that day or even that week.”

Refer Someone for Support

Anyone can ask for a telephone befriender, for themselves or someone they know who may be feeling lonely (please seek their permission first), by calling 01772 416 417 or online at: