Loneliness or social isolation can affect anyone at any stage of life and recent research shows that more than one in five people in the UK feel lonely at least some of the time.
As a contractor, we work almost exclusively with social housing partners in the homes of thousands of families across the UK and we regularly meet residents who are suffering from loneliness. Partnering with our clients and making a difference to their communities is important to us so we have launched a new befriending initiative we are calling ‘Maintenance Mates’.
Befriending offers one way to decrease loneliness and have a positive impact on health and well-being - a friendly 30-minute chat on the phone every week can make all the difference.
Several of our colleagues have volunteered to become a Maintenance Mate and, after training, are matched with residents who feel they might benefit from regular contact. Our telephone befrienders make a weekly call to the same person to provide a listening ear, suggest links to other services and to general care for their ‘friend’s’ well-being.
One of our colleagues, Andy, had this to say about joining the scheme: “I decided to become a befriender as too often older people have no one to talk to from one day to the next and all it takes is a quick call to make someone’s day. We owe so much to our older community members and I’m glad of the opportunity to give something back to one or two of them and become their mate. ”