Carer Support Wiltshire expands telephone 'befriending' service

Carer Support Wiltshire expands telephone 'befriending' service

Published by Mike Draper at 12:30pm 4th May 2020.

3 minute read

Everything is working very differently because of the Covid-19 crisis, but extra help is being made available because there are carers across Wiltshire who are really struggling.

  • Carer Support Wiltshire has been awarded £8,500 to provide even more support to the county's most vulnerable carers
  • The money will be used to upscale the charity's telephone 'Talk and Support' befriending service
  • Carer Support Wiltshire can be contacted on 0800 181 4118

This service is reaching out to unpaid carers aged 70 and over who might not have access to the internet, or be aware of help available to them, during the current pandemic lockdown.

WHAT IS AN UNPAID CARER?

An unpaid carer is someone with a family member or friend who relies on them for their care. This could be a child, parent or partner and the person may have dementia, a physical disability or a long-term health condition. 

  • Many unpaid carers aged 70 and over are likely to be self-isolating
  • They may also be looking after someone who is highly vulnerable
  • Some don't have access to technology and can lack IT skills, which makes it difficult for them to keep in touch with friends and family
  • It puts them at significant risk of loneliness, depression and ill mental health

LIFELINE: 'TALK AND SUPPORT' BEFRIENDING SERVICE

Carer Support Wiltshire's Talk and Support service is identifying the most high-risk unpaid carers and checking in with them by phone. Volunteers provide a friendly voice and don't judge carers for any frustrations they express. They also signpost carers to services and organisations who can help them at this time.

Rachael Demery, Carer Support Wiltshire's Community Fundraising Officer said:

"Our Talk and Support team are currently supporting 28 carers with regular weekly phone calls. This grant will enable us to recruit and train 35-50 new volunteers to befriend up to 300 additional carers."

"As our usual face-to-face support groups and carer cafes are currently not able to take place, this is a vital service that helps to replace lost support networks. Everything is working very differently at the moment, and we know there are carers who are elderly, lack IT skills and perhaps live in isolated parts of the county who are really struggling."

The charity would also like to hear from anyone interested in volunteering for the Talk and Support service, or other initiatives run by the charity that are helping unpaid carers, such as making wellbeing calls.

Carer Support Wiltshire received the £8,500 financial boost from the Wiltshire Community Foundation Coronavirus Response Fund to support the county’s most vulnerable carers.

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