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You could brighten local older people’s lives this winter

Published on 30 October 2023 10:12 AM

We are putting an urgent call out for volunteers for our telephone befriending service, Phone Friends.

We can all feel lonely sometimes, but prolonged and/or intense experiences of loneliness can have negative impacts on both our physical and mental health. Loneliness can increase the risk of early mortality by 26%, increase risk of poor mental health and is associated with elevated blood pressure and acute stress responses*.

With 1 in 5 older people in Oxfordshire reporting feeling lonely** and as we move into winter with colder and shorter days heightening feelings of loneliness and isolation, our Phone Friends service is needed more than ever.

Currently over 375 people receive a free, weekly telephone call from their friendly Phone Friend, but there are thousands more older people who could benefit from the service. 

Volunteer telephone befrienders really brighten the lives of older people feeling lonely or isolated. An older person recently supported said, “It's just what I needed to help stop me from feeling lonely.” and other said of their Phone Friend, “You always lift my spirits”.

Volunteering as a Phone Friend requires a minimum commitment of 1 hour per week which enables you to call up to 3 people and can be at a regular time that suits you. Calls can be made from the comfort of your own home and any expenses for call costs are covered.

If you’re friendly and feel comfortable talking whilst also providing a listening ear, you could bring comfort and friendship to local older people this winter. To register your interest in supporting our campaign to reduce loneliness amongst local older people, please call 01295 234 850 or email or visit here for more information.



*23% of those 50-64 and 19% of those 75+ report feeling lonely sometimes or always (Oxfordshire data from 2021 Census).