Sovereign Housing Association has paired up with Omega – the National Association for End of Life Care – to make sure that fewer people feel lonely on the Isle of Wight.
Omega – which mainly supports clients who are over the age of 75 and still caring for someone else, the bereaved and anyone who is near end of life – runs two services aimed at relieving isolation for adults.
‘A letter from Louise’ and ‘Chatterbox Action Against Loneliness’ – both see those feeling out of touch provided with regular contact – either by post or over the phone.
Housing association Sovereign is offering residents over the age of 18 the opportunity to pair up with a fully vetted penpal, or those over the age of 75 the chance to find a ‘telephone friend’.
Sovereign Community Development Officer, Toby Eaglen, said: “We all feel lonely sometimes, and islanders sometimes face an extra barrier. The letter writing scheme might work especially for someone who feels anxious about talking on the telephone and prefers to get their thoughts down on paper.
“Our residents will be matched with someone with similar interests so they will have plenty to talk about. If they don’t feel able to write back, they can send newspaper or magazine articles that interest them, photographs, or simply receive letters, with no obligation to reply. Monthly letters are encouraged but no expectation is made. The excitement of receiving something through the post is universal, I think!”
The Chatterbox Action Against Loneliness Programme provides a solution to those who over the age of 75 would benefit from having someone to talk to, someone willing to listen, someone neutral, but someone who understands that life is not always easy.
Carol Moody, A Letter from Louise Team Leader, said: “We are proud of our growing army of volunteer Chatterbox befrienders and A Letter from Louise penpal writers. I have seen how our letters and phone calls can quickly make a positive impact and I hope that the same will be true for Sovereign’s residents. If there are other groups out there who think their customers would benefit from our services, please just get in touch.”
If you would like to receive Chatterbox calls or a regular letter from Louise please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or call 01743 245 088. You can also visit www.omega.uk.net