Inspired Friendships, the befriending service created by later living provider Inspired Villages, has launched ‘Calls of Friendship’ – a telephone service to help combat lockdown loneliness amongst older people in Kent.
Last year, Inspired Villages – the later living provider behind Ledian Gardens retirement village, near Maidstone – recognised the need for a service to combat loneliness in the surrounding area and set up Inspired Friendships.
Led by ‘friendship managers’ Wendy Pfeiffer and Diane Bromley, Inspired Friendships co-ordinates a team of volunteers to carry out vital work to ensure older people don’t feel isolated. Inspired Friendships supports around 60 regular members who (in usual times) attend a range of community events, such as walks, coffee mornings and lunches. These activities help the members to forge new friendships and increase their confidence in meeting new people and getting out and about.
With the UK plunged into a third national lockdown, Inspired Friendships has responded by launching ‘Calls of Friendship’ - a new telephone service to support local older residents with regular telephone calls. The service currently has 200 DBS checked volunteers who are at the other end of the phone and ready to form a connection and friendship with an older person.
Tom Lord, Chief Operating Officer of Inspired Villages, comments: “At Inspired Villages our whole ethos is centred around creating communities that improve residents’ mental, physical and social wellbeing. Inspired Friendships is an extension of this and we are so pleased to be able to give back to the wider community outside our villages too.
“We understand that lockdown can be especially lonely for older people and this is made even more difficult during the winter months. We have a team of incredible volunteers who are ready to chat with local residents and looking forward to forming meaningful friendships to help combat loneliness and isolation during lockdown and beyond.”
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