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Thoughts from our Telephone Befriending and Shielding service staff

Our staff explain what it means to them to be given the opportunity to be part of the Telephone Befriending service and also participating in the Shielding Calls.

Jayne Woodward

head and shoulder picture of Jayne Woodward on phone

Shielding Calls on Behalf of Derbyshire County Council Adult Social Care

Over the past few weeks I have been helping out with phone calls to assist Derbyshire County Council.

Each week I have been making calls to the most vulnerable people across Derbyshire, who are on the Government shielding list.

This is very different to my role as Graphic Designer, within Corporate Communications. I volunteered to do anything to assist the Service and this opportunity was allocated to myself, along with some other people across the Service.

The calls involve phoning people from a list and running through an online survey. I ensure that I am talking to the correct person and ask their permission to ask how they are, by running through a short series of questions. This is to check on their wellbeing and I ask about their physical and emotional health, whether they have had a food parcel and if it was useful, whether they are ok for getting their prescriptions, and then confirm if everything is ok by adding in some details.

I enjoy helping people by making these calls, and it is satisfying to speak to people who are pleased that you have phoned to see how they are. Sometimes people like to talk, and I’m happy to do that, as many people are alone and often not in good health. Some people I speak to are truly inspiring! It is rewarding to give something back to the community, and I am really pleased I have been involved, and that I have helped out during this pandemic, if only on a small scale.

Louise Soppit

Louise Soppit

“I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to be involved in the telephone befriending service, speaking to vulnerable individuals within our community makes a real difference not only to them but to me as well.  I think this is a brilliant initiative and am thoroughly enjoying engaging with them, they really are so lovely.  To be able to help someone with just a little phone call is the least I can do in these uncertain times.  I am proud to support them through this pandemic and am proud to be part of such an amazing team of individuals at Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service.  It really is a great initiative and I really enjoy having a good old natter with them, they really do brighten my day too!”

Kelly-Anne Kelsall

Kelly-Anne Kelsall

“I am really enjoying taking part in the befriending service, it’s been extremely rewarding so far and to think that something as easy as picking up the phone is making a difference is a great feeling. I look forward to making my phone calls and listening to their stories and what they have to say. We talk about all sorts of things including, hobbies and interests, family, pets, the weather. It’s been wonderful getting to know them and I hope it is making them smile as much as it is me.”

Natalia Gibbard

“I really enjoy reaching out to the community through the Telephone Befriending Service. I have been very fortunate to connect with such wonderful souls, some of whom would normally make use of community services on Station, such as Chair Exercise. It’s been a frustrating and anxious time, and being able to talk about things, as well as signpost to other Agencies for further support when needed, has been very rewarding. I hope those in the community that I call look forward to our time together as much as I do!”

Carol Wilson

“My normal job as a Community Safety Officer involves working closely to support vulnerable residents in the High Peak community. This includes giving fire safety advice in the home and if required the fitting of fire safety equipment.

During these difficult times I have volunteered for different duties within the service, one being the telephone befriending service.

Each week I contact a regular list of people and we have a lovely chat about everything and anything. We discuss any worries they may have, current news, interesting topics as well as subjects such as what sauce to have on a pork pie!....a northern thing I’m sure!

These telephone calls provide a much welcome conversation and have been appreciated and well received.

Isolation can be a negative factor in a person’s wellbeing. Knowing a small piece of my time can have such a positive impact on a person gives me personal satisfaction.

Offering fire safety advice alongside sign posting to local support services links in to core elements within my normal role.

The befriending telephone service allows the opportunity to continue the engagement DFRS promotes to its communities.”