If you have a friendly telephone manner and like helping those in need, then read on……Halton Borough Council wants to hear from you…………….

During lockdown, Sure Start to Later Life and the Health Improvement Team, united to support the most vulnerable residents of Halton who were on the NHS shielded list, by giving them a regular telephone call and having a chat.

Service users said it has been a huge success in supporting them through this period and proven to be a lifeline for those feeling lonely and isolated and many have requested this to continue.

Feedback from those making the calls show that there is a clear pattern to the conversations, people often say they don’t know what they would do without the calls, that they are becoming depressed and that the pandemic has made them think about going into residential care so they have more company.

Sure Start To Later Life’s Suzanne Toner, said: “We have had many wonderful and often sad responses to the calls, but to provide an idea of the impact the they have made, here are just some of the comment we have received:

“Your calls are a blessing and your loveliness is shining bright
(this lady is totally isolated with no family)

“Thank you for your calls it’s nice to know someone cares about you
(this gentleman’s family live abroad)

“I’m so glad to have someone to talk to at this frightening time
(this lady was in hospital with COVID19)”

Now that lockdown has eased somewhat and things are constantly changing, those making the calls have to return to their teams in preparation for the future and the delivery of their own service.

However, as the value of these calls has been recognised, we do not want to stop this provision so we have decided to see if there are people out there who could help and become a Telephone Befriender to continue to call those most in need.

Calls can be a ten minute friendly chat or longer if appropriate and agreed with the Telephone Befriender, the team and the client.

Halton Borough Council’s Executive Board Member for Health and Wellbeing, Cllr Marie Wright, said: “This role has helped so many people through this terrible time and we don’t feel it is right to simply drop them due to staff having to return to their substantive posts and capacity does not allow for Sure Start to Later Life to take over completely.

“We are sure you will agree this is something that needs to continue and with your help it can. “

If you are interested and would like to know more please give the Sure Start to Later Life team a call on 01928 569498 or email on ss2ll@halton.gov.uk and we will be happy to discuss further.