As the rest of the world goes online for contact, a befriending service for elderly people in North Manchester – forced to suspend its traditional weekly visits – is overcoming loneliness in a different way by sending greetings cards, making phone calls and offering essential support.
Despite the latest challenges caused by Covid-19, the team at St Joseph’s Welfare and Befriending Service have not let their mission of making sure no older person is lonely be defeated.
As many of us turn to technology to stay connected, the team of committed staff and volunteers at SJWS have picked up their pens and taken to snail mail to send more than 80 messages of hope, support, and friendship which will drop through the letterboxes of those facing increased isolation.
As well as this, the team at St Joseph’s have been regularly checking in by phone, collecting shopping for those unable to leave their homes and have delivered meals to over 50 older people.St Joseph’s Welfare and Befriending Service, a project run by Caritas Salford, supports elderly and isolated people across North Manchester and has been running for over 40 years.
One service user at St Joseph’s said: “I am overjoyed with the care from SJWS. It was a lucky day I was introduced to SJWS through my late wife who was referred to the service. The work that you are doing to help vulnerable people is amazing. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Sr Mary Considine, senior support worker at the service, said: “I feel our encounter with the older people at this time is of great benefit to them. They know that we are a reliable service available to them. They are all enjoying the chat over the phone, some are having a cooked meal twice per week and others are having shopping done for them. All are expressing appreciation, particularly of the cooked meals.”
Mark Wiggin, CEO at Caritas Salford, added: “It is important that no one is, or feels, forgotten during this time despite the disruption we are all facing. Even something as small as writing a greeting card to remind the recipient that they are not alone can make a world of difference.”
Caritas has twenty-two projects based around the Diocese of Salford, which are helping to support our community’s most in need during this time with accessing food, support and combatting isolation.
Help Caritas to continue its support by visiting: www.justgiving.com/caritassalford