Blog: Tackling loneliness through the Age Scotland Friendship Line
Published on 17 January 2022 08:47 AM
As part of our social security campaign, Check in, Cash out, we’re urging people to look out for the older people in their lives this January to make sure no one misses out on the social security they’re entitled to.
We asked our Friendship Supervisor, Sheona Dorrian, to write about how our friendship line volunteers support older people and how a call can help identify those in need of further assistance and signpost to additional Age Scotland services.
"It's nice to hear the phone ringing"
- Ann, Age Scotland Friendship Caller.
Having a blether can have such a positive impact. That’s why at Age Scotland, we have a friendship line so people don’t need a reason to call us. Anyone aged 50 and over across Scotland can have a chit chat, blether or chin wag by calling us free on 0800 12 44 222 Monday - Friday, 9am - 5pm. We also have a dedicated friendship service, which sees our fantastic volunteers make weekly calls offering friendship and companionship to older people across Scotland who feel they would benefit from a regular chat.
Calls can range from 15 - 40 minutes and we can talk about all sorts, from current interests and hobbies to top-tier biscuits and time travelling - the list is endless. We have even had poetry recitals, singing and instrumental performances on these calls! Our service differs to a befriending service in that older people get the chance to get to know more than one volunteer, from all different walks of life.
One call can make a huge difference, especially to those who live alone, who may not have family nearby or who can't get online. The calls can break up someone's week, provide that little extra bit of routine and have the chance to have a good old-fashioned blether. Most of our callers say that it is nice to talk to someone that is not a family member or close friend. Families and friends are a great support, don’t get us wrong! But sometimes it can be nice to chat to someone who is impartial to your situation and can provide a listening ear.
Conversations, especially during the pandemic we are living in, aren't always a walk in the park. Calls can sometimes start low but the volunteers always try to ensure that they end with a smile. If more than a chat is needed and someone is identified as needing further support, we will refer callers on to one of our friendly advisers from the Age Scotland Helpline who can provide them with further information and advice – including a free benefits entitlement check.
"It is a lovely feeling to finish a call knowing that not only have you brightened the day for someone else day but you have enriched your own also".
- Lorna, Age Scotland Friendship Volunteer.
If you are reading this now and feel this is something you could lend your support to, this is your sign to get involved! We are always looking for volunteers to join our Friendship Team. We all know volunteering is a great way to try something different, practice your skills or even discover hidden talents! Just one or two hours of your week could make a huge difference to someone's life and help us to tackle loneliness faced by older people across Scotland. A simple, friendly call can make all the difference.