NEED A CHAT OR SOME COMPANY?

  • Independent Age – Regular Phone Calls. If you’re feeling in need of a good chat with someone who cares – perhaps because you’re living on your own or your health isn’t what it used to be – their volunteers can provide a regular chat over the phone. How it works: You sign up for as long or as short a time as you like; you’ll catch up with your volunteer at a regular time that suits you both. If you decide your volunteer isn’t working out, you can let them know and they’ll find you someone else. There is no charge – friendship is free! Call Independent Age‘s Helpline on 0800 319 6789 for more information.

    Independent Age Phone Calls

  • Boloh. Are you a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic child, young person, parent or carer, affected by Covid-19? Barnardo’s have launched a helpline to support Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic families affected by the Covid-19 pandemic; providing advice, signposting and emotional support. You can speak to Boloh about your worries, problems and stresses during this time, and they can provide emotional support, practical advice and signposting to other organisations who can provide further help. If you’re a professional, you can also contact us to discuss how to support a child or young person they are working with. In many languages, Boloh means speak. The helpline is available by phone on 0800 1512 605 or online by webchat via the Barnados website. They are available to talk Mon-Fri, from 10am-8pm, and Sat-Sun 10am-3pm.

    Boloh helpline promo image

  • Reengage – Call Companions. Call Companions to help you stay connected through the remaining lockdown and beyond. In response to the Covid-19 crisis Reengage have suspended their regular social gatherings and, with the help of dedicated volunteers, have set up a UK-wide call companions service. Older people who are feeling alone can receive a regular friendly phone call throughout the crisis and beyond, for as long as they want it. Follow the links to their website for more info or email them to seek a call companion for yourself, or someone else.

    Reengage Call Companions

  • ‘Keep In Touch’ is a new service from The Suffolk Coalition of Disabled People – SCODP.  The project is funded by Disability Action and East Suffolk District Council. If you would like a regular friendly chat, or you know someone who would, or if you would like to have an online chat, then KIT (Keep in Touch) is a service which offers exactly that. In these times they understand that there isn’t the opportunity to have so much contact with the people who would normally make a difference to your day. So if you feel that this is for you or would like to make a referral, you can give them a call on 07708 473197. For an online chat about KIT please send an email to Brenda Joyce. Other enquiries about SCODP can be made to 01473 557577, or by  emailing their enquiries address.

    logo for scopd Suffolk Coalition of Disabled People

  • The Silver Line is a confidential, free helpline for older people across the UK that’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days of the year. They also offer telephone friendship, matching volunteers with older people based on their interests,  plus facilitated group calls, and helping to connect people with local services in their area. Call Silver Line on 0800 4 70 80 90.

    The Silver Line helpline number

  • Home But Not Alone. On 24th March Suffolk County Council and its partners launched a new app and helpline to support Suffolk people. The ‘Home But Not Alone’ campaign aims to connect people and groups who want to volunteer in their communities with neighbours who are most in need. All details and offers of support can be logged and matched using a new app, Tribe Volunteer, and the freephone helpline 0800 876 6926 will be staffed from 9am to 5pm, seven days a week.. Click here for more information.

    Home But Not Alone Covid Ttribe Volunteer helpline phone number advert

  • Suffolk Night Owls is an emotional support service run by Suffolk Mind and available by telephone, text or email. Experienced staff will be there to listen and provide impartial support to you and any information needed. The telephone support line is open 7 nights a week from 7pm to 1am. Find out more about how you can register for this service on the Suffolk Mind website or call the enquiry line on 0300 111 6000. Once registered the Suffolk Night Owls contact number will be provided.

    Suffolk Mind Night Owls Helpline

  • MeetUpMondays™. If you find yourself on your own quite a bit and could do with some company and a chat, or you’re new to your local area and would like to get to know people, then why not give MeetUpMondays a go? Pubs and cafes across the county which are part of the network have a weekly warm welcome and a free cuppa waiting for anyone on their own. They don’t always take place on a Monday, and those which are currently operating are doing so with Covid-secure measurements in place, and following government guidance. Put your postcode into the MeetUpMondays map to find your nearest venue, and if there’s not one near enough, why not ask your local pub or cafe to get involved? It’s easy, and we can help at Rural Coffee Caravan/MeetUpMondays HQ! (NB * MeetUpMondays groups will have to pause meeting ‘in person’ during times of lockdown and in certain tier restrictions, but some are running remote/online social sessions.*)

    MeetUpMondays logo long

  • Connect with a friend or neighbour via a cuppa! We’ve created four new free card kit designs for you to print, make and share. It’s a great way to post a ‘hello’ or an introduction through a neighbour’s door, or send a kind thought to a friend you’re unable to spend time in person with at the moment. Just download the PDF file to your device (link below), print out your chosen designs and cut and assemble. Then pop a tea bag or coffee sachet into the cup ‘pocket’ and post or deliver to a friend, neighbour or loved one so you can ‘share’ a cuppa til you’re next able to get together. Share your cards to the Rural Coffee Caravan Facebook page, we’d love to see them!

    Cuppa for a friend card

    Rural Coffee Caravan ‘Cuppa For a Friend’ – card kit pack 

  • Suffolk Libraries ‘Phone a Friend’ service launched in January 2021, to reach out to older or isolated library customers. It provides regular phone calls to anyone who would benefit from a friendly chat and someone to talk to. Older people may be missing the regular social interaction with staff and other people gained when visiting the libraries. Those who aren’t online will have also found lockdown particularly difficult. The Phone a Friend service is as simple as calling someone for a friendly chat on a regular basis to check they’re ok and to listen to them. ‘Phone a Friend’ builds on the successful ‘Suffolk Lifeline’ service that Suffolk Libraries launched during the first lockdown. This was delivered by library staff who called library customers to check on them and have a chat, focussing on older people and people who they know may be particularly lonely or vulnerable. If you know of a Suffolk Libraries user who might like the Phone A Friend service, email them at phoneafriend@suffolklibraries.co.uk.

    Suffolk Libraries are also looking for volunteers for their new Phone-A-Friend service, if you think you could offer 1-2 hours a week for a minimum of 6 months, click on the link to read more about what the role involves and how to apply.

    Suffolk Libraries Phone A Friend service

  • Need a chat? About anything and nothing in particular? hullo is a non-profit organisation, born out of the pandemic but here to stay; harnessing the help of volunteers to offer ‘a conversation for everyone.’ Their mission is to connect the nation through conversation fostering a welcoming, inclusive, and non-judgmental environment, which directly tackles loneliness and isolation, whilst promoting positive mental health. The hullo LINE is 0800 001 4455, and is open daily from 9am till 9pm. It is a place for anyone of any gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or religion to come together and chat with friendly volunteers. A recent poll found that 69% of British adults feel happier and more relieved after having a conversation, so we encourage anyone to grab a brew and give them a call!

    hullo logo and helpline number

  • Silversurfers is a website aimed at the over 50s, at the heart of Silversurfers community is a philosophy of Trust, Honesty, Friendship and Enjoyment. After registering on the site you can start an online chat & create a group chat with other members, You can also can voice your opinion in polls and current affairs, showcase your creativity and visit the forum to find posts to engage with.

    Silver surfers chat banner

  • Have you thought about volunteering? You may be stuck at home but you can still be useful. Could you possibly be a telephone befriender for example? If you are a community group helping local people you can register this with Community Action Suffolk to that they can signpost people to you.

    Community Actions Suffolk logo

  • Go old fashioned – write a letter!: Try writing letters sending handmade cards to people who are isolated. It’s a wonderful way to send cheer and keep in touch. Royal Mail have a section updating people about their services amidst the coronavirus outbreak.

    Royal Mail digital poster advising that they are still delivering despite unprecedented circumstances, Image shows post van driving on a road between a rocky landscape with a sea view in the background.

  • Get social: Look out for fun ways to get together with other people and do things, you could even start something yourself. It could be as simple as starting a book club with a handful of neighbours which meets online or over the phone (there are free online resources available: Project Gutenberg has a library of over 60,000 free eBooks, or Audible offers a free 30 day trial for audiobooks), join a singing group or take exercise classes online that are being organised for free.

  • Look out for people sitting in a window and smile & wave. Lots of older people like to sit by their window and watch the world go by. That connection will be so important for so many. You may even start a friendship in spite of the physical distance.

    Image of an older lady sitting looking out of a window

  • Share your WiFi during the coronavirus lockdown. TinsleyNET points out that as libraries and community hubs have been closed as part of the government’s attempts to manage the Covid-19 virus pandemic, some users who relied on their free internet access may have found themselves cut off from the internet. If you have elderly neighbours or neighbours who don’t have access to internet services, you could help them during the period of self isolation or social distancing, by sharing your guest access internet connection with them.

    Using the guest network segregates their devices from your own WiFi meaning there’s not chance of computer viruses crossing over from one side to the other. Follow the link above for more info. If you need help setting up your Guest WiFi they have a FREE IT Support Page.

  • Find creative ways to just have a chat: Whether it’s on the phone, via Skype, through FaceTime, having a Zoom call or through a window at a safe distance – we know the power of just having a chat. Give your video calls a makeover using a BBC TV set background! Chosen from a selection of over 100 empty sets from the BBC Archive, “who hasn’t wanted to host a pub quiz from the Queen Vic, conduct a job interview from the confines of Fletch’s cell, or catch up with friends and family from the bridge of the Liberator in Blake’s 7?” Strictly Come Dancing, Top of the Pops, Dad’s Army, Eastenders, Doctor Who, Match of the Day, Blue Peter – there are loads to choose from!

    4 images from the BBC set backgrounds archives: weather report, Strictlly Come Dancing, Match of the Day and Hancock's half hour, with BBC logo overlapping centre

  • Identify people’s communications needs and help those who aren’t digitally savvy get more confident: If you have neighbours who aren’t as digitally savvy as you but do have devices, help get them set up with video conferencing and help them to become more confident. You could even try and do this over a landline phone in order to keep a safe distance. Where people don’t have a device, a phone tree or similar tool could be used to communicate via landline.

  • Coordinate a phone tree which includes a handful of your neighbours. These are a useful way of passing messages around small social networks but could be vital social contact for those stuck at home in the weeks ahead. A 10 minute check in or friendly chat can make all the difference to help people feel less isolated. There are instructions online how to set these up, like this.

    Illustration of an example of a phone tree