During the COVID-19 pandemic we made vital changes to our services to ensure the safety of the older people and volunteers we work with. Social distancing and lockdown measures had a huge impact on the services we deliver to our older friends, the important roles played by our volunteers, and the way that we worked day-to-day. 

From March 2020, the older people we support experienced feelings of increased isolation as their regular activities remained cancelled. To ensure we helped them as much as possible through this time and met their additional needs, we adapted and increased our service provision to include the following:

  • 529 individual phone calls were made to our service users at the beginning of the first lockdown to check in and assess their needs. These check-in calls are now ongoing as part of our commitment to stay in touch and be there for our older friends
  • Our existing face-to-face befriending relationships converted to telephone befriending, with our volunteers phoning their matched person weekly
  • We set up over 60 new telephone befriending matches due to an increased demand from both service users and volunteers
  • Ongoing guidance was provided to our volunteer befrienders depending on the latest restrictions and advice 
  • We launched a brand new shopping service and our volunteers supported 44 service users with food shopping in the first lockdown
  • Our volunteers collected and delivered prescriptions for service users across the borough 
  • We moved as many of our groups online as possible, suspending all of our social and activity groups until we could once again meet in person
  • Regular craft packs were delivered to our service users for them to get creative at home while they couldn't attend our groups
  • Thanks to a grant from the Bring Joy Foundation, we were able to deliver free books and puzzles to our service users
  • We processed over 45 new volunteer applications in March 2020 and moved our volunteer inductions and 'Get Togethers' online
  • We continued to connect service users to other organisations who offer further help and support 

We are very proud of everything we managed to achieve during an extremely challenging year, in order to keep our services for older people up and running. We were particularly overwhelmed and humbled by the response from local people, our supporters, our volunteers, our funders, our partners and our service users themselves, whose positive feedback would often provide the team with the boost they needed to maintain morale and motivation during a difficult time.

A big thank you to our amazing volunteers, who we couldn't have got through the year without. Thank you also to everyone who donated to our Coronavirus Response Appeal, and to all who supported us in a number of ways.