Re-engage, the charity dedicated to ending loneliness and isolation among older people, is partnering with Parkinson’s UK for a call-befriending service.
The programme will launch next week (Oct 3) when Re-engage will start to match volunteers with people living with Parkinson’s, or their carers, for regular phone calls.
Re-engage is aiming to help around 150 people, aged 60 and over, referred from Parkinson’s UK over the next twelve months. To deliver this, it is recruiting new volunteers who will undergo Parkinson’s-related training to understand the condition but will not be required to provide specific advice.
The charity already runs a call companions service for older people, which was launched during the Covid pandemic, and award-winning rainbow call companions for older members of the LGBT+ community, which launched earlier this year.
Meryl Davies, CEO of Re-engage said:
“Re-engage’s call companion service has been connecting people for more than two years and is has had a positive impact on the lives of thousands of older people.
“Telephone befriending is a simple but hugely effective way of ensuring that vulnerable people maintain a link with the outside world and regularly have a recognisable, friendly voice at the end of the phone.
“We are delighted that we can expand call companions by partnering with Parkinson’s UK, recruiting and training volunteers to work with people affected by the condition and playing our part in supporting the Parkinson’s community”
“As Parkinson’s progresses, a gradual loss of movement and impaired balance make social interaction a daily challenge. People affected by Parkinson’s, including carers, can feel isolated and cut off from the world and we are delighted that this partnership will mean we can be part of supporting them.”
Caroline Rassell, Chief Executive of Parkinson’s UK, said:
“Living with Parkinson’s, or caring for someone with the condition, can be isolating and lonely. For some it’s motor symptoms that make it difficult to get out to see people, whilst others struggle with the mental health symptoms like anxiety and depression.
“At Parkinson’s UK, we’re aiming to support everyone affected by Parkinson’s, throughout their life with the condition. Our free and confidential helpline continues to provide incredible insight and advice on everything from medication to benefits, but through this partnership with Re-engage, we’re now able to offer companionship.
“We’re so grateful to the volunteers who will be befriending members of our community, offering them someone to talk to about their lives, including everything outside of their Parkinson’s. We are looking forward to learning from the first year of this partnership with a hope to expand this offering in the future.”
If you’d like to volunteer as a call companion for this new service, please contact Re-engage at: www.reengage.org.uk/volunteer or call: 020 7240 0630.