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Silver Talk celebrates its success in helping keep the North East connected

Silver Talk celebrates its success in helping keep the North East connected

Telephone befriending service Silver Talk has tripled in size during the Covid:19 pandemic, ensuring those who are most isolated across the North East region can stay connected.

The service, which is managed by Karbon Homes and provides over 55s with a 30-minute social telephone chat each week, is now providing support to 301 service users, a jump from 95 in February.

To accommodate this leap, the service has recruited a further 40 volunteers, taking numbers up from 26 before the pandemic struck to 66 volunteers today, who have committed anything from 1 to 14 hours per week.

Paul Moralee, Karbon’s Community Investment and Silver Talk Manager, said: “When the UK Government first issued its ‘Stay At Home’ guidance, as a team we were incredibly concerned about the effect it was going to have on older, more vulnerable people across the area.

“For many, the need to stay at home or even self-isolate meant becoming cut off from the normal social contact they would get from family and friends, attending activities and groups, and even just popping to the shops.

“We were eager to make sure that for those who were struggling, Silver Talk was there to help, and we’ve been overwhelmed not only with the level of demand we’ve received, but with the number of people who have come forward wanting to help us.”

“All our volunteers are set up to work from home, and thanks to their commitment to the service we have been able to process referrals and get service users matched at a record pace.”

After securing £25,000 in funding from Travis Perkins in late 2019, alongside financial support from Derwent Valley, Mid Durham and Stanley AAPs, the future of Silver Talk looks positive and the team is working hard to ensure the service can keep running at this level once the UK comes out of lockdown.

Andrea Alder, Silver Talk Coordinator, said: “This time of lockdown has been incredibly difficult for so many people, but unfortunately for many members of the older generation, particularly those living in more rural areas, this feeling of loneliness and isolation isn’t new.

“Thanks to the support of Travis Perkins and the Derwent Valley and Mid Durham and Stanley AAPs, we’re able to reach even more older people in some of the most isolated areas of the North East, who may benefit a great deal from the companionship the service provides.”

If you, or someone you know, could benefit from speaking to a Silver Talk volunteer, get in touch with the team by calling 0191 223 8662 or by email, silvertalk@karbonhomes.co.uk

For more information visit www.karbonhomes.co.uk/silvertalk

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1 June 2020

Extra Care ,

Silver Talk volunteer, Gordon Reid

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