VOLUNTEERS who provide the only social interaction for hundreds of older people have called for others to pledge their time to keep the ‘vital’ service going.
Age UK Oxfordshire’s ‘phone friends’ offers a friendly chat for 280 of the county’s most lonely and isolated people.
Some 45 volunteers from across Oxfordshire make regular calls which help combat the ‘debilitating’ effects of chronic loneliness, with the charity estimating 11,000 people faced with spending Christmas alone.
Derek Needham, from Bicester, turned to the phone service after losing his sight.
These problems, combined with agoraphobia, meant he found it difficult to get out of the house.
He lives with his son Stacey who has Asperger’s Syndrome and is his full time carer.
The 68-year-old said: “I felt very isolated and very limited in what I could do.
“When you lose your sight, it can be scary and lonely. Going out was very hard work so I did not leave the house that much and didn’t have a lot of confidence.
“The phone calls made me feel a little bit important, like people were interested in what I had to say.
“I enjoy chatting and it’s something I could do in my own house.
Read more at: http://www.oxfordtimes.co.uk/news/15781927.__39_Vital__39__phone_call_service_needs_more_volunteers_as_11_000_face_lonely_Christmas/