Volunteers thanked after stunning response to Sheffield loneliness campaign

Star readers have been thanked for stepping forward to help combat loneliness and isolation, after more than 100 people volunteered for our Buddy Up! campaign.

By diana stannard
Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 1:37 pm
Updated Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 1:39 pm
Sharon Saunders, volunteer coordinator at Sheffield Churches Council for Community Care
Sharon Saunders, volunteer coordinator at Sheffield Churches Council for Community Care

Sheffield Churches Council for Community Care launched the campaign with The Star to recruit more telephone support volunteers after the charity revealed a growing waiting list of older people desperate for support.

Now the charity is saying thank you to all those who signed up to lend their support during the campaign - plus those who already give up their time to support its popular Good Neighbour Scheme.

Sharon Saunders, volunteer coordinator at SCCCC, said: “We launched the campaign in response to a growing demand for our services - partly because of the pandemic and partly because word is getting out about the support we can offer the thousands of people across the city for whom television is sadly their only friend.

“The response has been fantastic and it’s amazing the difference a regular weekly or fortnightly telephone call can make to the lives of our service users.

“During the pandemic, we’ve moved from face-to-face visits to telephone support and also introduced our pen pal service, which has been really popular.”

Last year SCCCC warned that the city’s loneliness epidemic would only get worse as long, cold weeks of lockdown lay ahead for thousands of over 65s- many of whom have no friends or family they can call upon for support.

Volunteers who came forward and successfully completed their induction and background checks are now spending an hour a week telephoning an isolated, older person.

SCCCC hopes that telephone calls may become friendly visits in the future, as current Covid-19 restrictions continue to be lifted.

To find out more or to volunteer, contact Sharon Saunders, at [email protected] or phone 0114 250 5292.