Alf, 79, gets stressed by the lockdown. He has to stay in his flat most of the time and doesn’t get to see people. ” I miss conversation,” he says, “I’m lonely to be honest.” Alf’s son lives in Australia and can’t call very often.
During the last few weeks, staff and volunteers from the local group Help on Your Doorstep (HOYD) have been making phone calls to hundreds of vulnerable and isolated residents in Islington . Like Alf, many are potentially at risk due to health, mobility or age and can’t leave their homes very often.
The calls help staff and volunteers find out what support is needed in terms of basic food deliveries, but just as importantly, to check in and have a chat with people so they don’t feel lonely during these difficult times.
“We found out that his TV was broken and were able to find him a replacement”, explains Martin, the volunteer who has been keeping in touch with Alf. “I watch old programmes mainly, Last of the Summer Wine repeats. It keeps my mind a bit more occupied. I’ll be glad when this is over”, says Alf.
At Islington Giving we worked with HOYD to establish the Good Neighbours Scheme, a service to break isolation by creating spaces and opportunities for people to come together, share experiences and build real and sustained relationships with neighbours. With lockdown, creative new ways are being found to reach vulnerable residents who are struggling the most during the pandemic.
HOYD provides wellbeing and befriending calls, and will also start providing online services soon. You can visit their website to stay tuned.
Money from the Islington Giving Crisis Fund went towards supporting HOYD to deliver these services.
Thanks to HOYD volunteer, Martin, for providing this story and to Alf for letting us share his story from lockdown.