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Age UK service offers phone friendship for Swindon

Published on 14 May 2013 10:30 AM

New Age UK service offers friendship over the phone for older people in Swindon

Older people in Swindon wanting a friendly chat are being urged to get in contact with Age UK as the charity has set up a new Call in Time service in the area offering a weekly phone call from friendly local volunteers.

Age UK's free Call in Time service will offer weekly phone calls from its trained volunteers lasting around half an hour. The calls provide a reliable friendly voice and a safe and comfortable environment for older people to chat about anything from grandchildren and hobbies to day-to-day life. The Call in Time service in Swindon is run in partnership with Age UK Wiltshire, Swindon Borough Council and Zurich Community Trust.

Isolation and loneliness are issues for many older people - over 700,000 of those aged 65+ in the UK report that they always or often feel lonely , with over half of all older people considering the TV as their main form of company . Poor health, illness, problems with finances and lack of access to transport often mean older people feel cut off from their family, friends and local community.  A regular friendly phone call through Call in Time can really make a difference and help to lessen feelings of loneliness.

Councillor Brian Mattock, Swindon Borough Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care, has like many council colleagues signed up as a volunteer with Call in Time. He said: 'This is an exciting initiative which could provide a real lifeline for people. The population of older people is growing and this national trend applies particularly in Swindon , so isolation and loneliness are serious issues.

'Often little things, like a regular phone call and an opportunity to talk, can bring huge benefits. I'm looking forward to getting involved and encourage anyone who thinks weekly phone calls would help them, to get in touch.'

Brian Deeley, Chief Executive at Age UK Wiltshire, said: 'Reducing loneliness and isolation amongst older people in our community is central to our work.  We know that these calls can have a positive impact on people's lives. Please do get in touch with Call in Time if you think you would benefit from the service.'

Age UK has volunteers ready and waiting to take calls, so if you would like to find out more, or if someone you know could benefit please contact Call in Time on: 0844 225 0320 or email:



Notes to editors:

Media contact
: Sarah Scott
Telephone: 020 3033 1434
Out of hours: 07071 243243

Additional quotes:

Rachael Bell, a housing lettings officer at Swindon Borough Council has volunteered with Call in Time, saying
: 'I think it's a great idea. In my job, I encounter older people and know how lonely it can be. Sometimes they say I'm the only person they've got to talk to all week - people seem to have less time to talk these days.

'I'm more than happy to give around half an hour a week, which isn't really much. It will be nice to think I've made a real difference and helped cheer someone up. My nan lived in sheltered housing and had an arrangement with a neighbour downstairs to ring each other to see how they were and have a little chat. This scheme is offering just that to people who may not have anyone to do this.'

Barbara, who benefits from Age UK's Call in Time service, says: 'People seriously underestimate the condition and awfulness of feeling lonely. Age UK's service is a life-saver to me. I'd been starved of the human voice. Now the phone rings and it's someone I know who always seems to say the right thing at the right time a reliable, understanding and helpful telephone support service. Before, I simply existed in a deep abyss. Now I am back in the land of the living.'

Lucy Harmer, Head of Services at Age UK, said: 'We're pleased that Call in Time will be able to benefit older people in Swindon. We all have a role to play in reducing isolation and loneliness, ensuring older people remain at the heart of our communities.'

Jane Boulton, Programme Manager, Zurich Community Trust (UK) Limited, said:
'We are delighted to jointly fund Swindon Borough Council's Call in Time pilot. We look forward to working with them and Age UK on this exciting new variation on the original Call in Time model and we anticipate that it will have a very positive impact on isolated older people in the local area.' 

Age UK
For media enquiries relating to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland please contact the appropriate national office: Age Scotland on 0131 668 8055, Age Cymru on 029 2043 1562 and Age NI on 028 9024 5729.

Age UK is the new force combining Age Concern and Help the Aged, dedicated to improving later life.

We provide free information, advice and support to over six million people; commercial products and services to well over one million customers; and research and campaign on the issues that matter to people in later life. Our work focuses on five key areas: money matters, health and well being, home and care, work and training and leisure and lifestyle. We work with our national partners, Age Scotland, Age Cymru and Age NI (together the Age UK Family), our local Age UK partners in England and local Age Concerns. We also work internationally for people in later life as a member of the DEC and with our sister charity Help Age International.

Age UK is a charitable company limited by guarantee and registered in England (registered charity number 1128267 and company number 6825798). Age Concern England and Help the Aged (both registered charities), and their trading and other associated companies merged on the 1st April 2009. Together they have formed the Age UK Group ("we").  Charitable services are offered through Age UK and commercial products are offered by the Charity's trading companies, which donate their net profits to Age UK (the Charity).

About the Zurich Community Trust
The Zurich Community Trust, a UK registered charity funded by pre-tax profits and donations from Zurich's staff, provides an umbrella for all Zurich's community involvement in the UK. Zurich Cares and The Openwork Foundation are supported funds of the Zurich Community Trust which employees of Zurich and members of Openwork support with personal donations of time and money. The Zurich Community Trust donated over £1.7 million to more than 600 charities in 2012, helping them to support disadvantaged people move from dependence to independence. As well as addressing parental drug misuse, the isolation of older people and young people's mental health through long term programmes, the Zurich Community Trust manages and matches Zurich employee's £542,000 donations, brokered 5,696 days of volunteering time involving over 40% of UK staff. This included 215 annual team challenge activities and 137 Skillshares. Since it was set up in 1973 over £63,339,767.million has been donated to local communities in the UK and overseas. Visit Zurich Community Trust's website on opens link in new window for more details.

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Last updated: Oct 20 2023

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