Shrewsbury charity tackling loneliness seeks volunteers

A Shrewsbury charity tackling loneliness in later life is celebrating a £2,000 grant win which will help it reach out to more socially isolated people in Shropshire.

Omega Care for Life, which runs several projects including the telephone befriending programme Chatterbox Action Against Loneliness, has been awarded the generous sum by The Hilton-Jones Charitable Trust. The grant aims to help more people in Shropshire benefit from the Chatterbox service.

And now the Shrewsbury charity is on the lookout for more volunteers to continue their work in the community.

Chatterbox Action Against Loneliness volunteers ring a client once a week to offer emotional support and a listening ear, chat about mutual interests and gently encourage them to re-engage with social activities. For some people it is the only friendly call they receive all week.

Last year, Chatterbox was chosen by the Mayor of Shrewsbury to receive a Gold Award in recognition of achievements towards enhancing the social wellbeing of the area.

The grant is a welcome boost to the Town Walls-based charity, but in order to make the biggest impact, Omega urgently needs more enthusiastic volunteers in the county who can spare an hour a week to make a phone call to a lonely person.

The Chatterbox Action Against Loneliness programme has a waiting list as there are several people in Shropshire who would like to receive the calls but cannot due to lack of volunteers.

Omega Care for Life director Thomas Memery said: “We are hugely grateful for the support of The Hilton-Jones Charitable Trust, which will allow us to reach out to more socially isolated people in Shropshire.

Difference

“The work we do to tackle loneliness and social isolation has an enormous impact.

“A friendly phone call once a week can make a big difference and help people feel less alone.

“Omega colleagues want to do more to reach out to people who deserve our support – that’s why we need more volunteers.

“Our Chatterbox volunteer befrienders are ordinary people who have the skills to quickly build relationships, boost self-confidence and help clients to find essential information.”

Priscilla Hilton-Jones of The Hilton-Jones Charitable Trust said: “We are delighted to provide this funding so that the much needed Chatterbox programme can be expanded and made available to more people in Shropshire.”

Chatterbox volunteers are recruited, trained and supported by a team of experienced colleagues and benefit from an active programme of volunteer events, including the Volunteer of the Month initiative and weekly coffee drop-in mornings, open to everyone, held on Tuesday mornings from 10:30 to12.00 at Shrewsbury Unitarian Church.

For more information on becoming a volunteer, people can call Omega on 01743 245088 or email volunteersupport@omega.uk.net

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