News : Volunteer Helping Lonely Elderly People Over Christmas
Southampton, UK, Dec 21, 2015 -- A volunteer from Hampshire is determined to do her bit for lonely older people this Christmas.
Vanda Taylor works with Scottish and Southern Energy Power and is helping to make sure older people facing the festive period alone don’t feel isolated.
Vanda from Calmore is one of a group of 14 members of staff from the electricity network operator’s call centre making friendship calls as part of Age UK’s ‘Call in Time’ befriending service.
Her latest work has seen Vanda make friends with an elderly man called Frank, who she checks up on every week.
Vanda said: "I really enjoy my weekly chats with Frank, we have a quite lot in common and get on really well. I can tell he really looks forward to our calls, so I’ll always make sure I call him at our usual time even if I’m not at work.
When we first started talking I thought he was a bit reluctant to open up and tended to be quite eager to end the conversation, but now we can happily chatter away about all sorts."
The company launched the scheme in April and so far the volunteers have clocked up 80 hours on the phone.
"Frank and I always have our chats on a Thursday so I’ll be calling him on Christmas Eve, and I’ve sent him a Christmas card too. I’ll also offer to call him on Christmas Day as I don’t like to think of him being all by himself all day, but I am mindful of the fact that he finds Christmas particularly emotional, so I will respect his wishes whatever he chooses."
Colin Nicol, managing director for Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution, added: "Suffering from loneliness, or any kind of vulnerability, and not knowing where to turn is a prospect that could affect anyone. That is why we work with charities, including Age UK, to train our call centre staff to identify signs of vulnerability, and signpost customers to any free help and support on offer."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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SSE plc is a British electric utility company headquartered in Perth, Scotland. It a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.
Published: Tuesday, December 22, 2015