Volunteers met with some of the users of Call and Chat at a special lunch today.

‘There are lots of lonely people who look forward to their regular phone call – you might be the only person they’ve spoken to that day’

A service that was set up during the coronavirus pandemic to offer a friendly voice to elderly and vulnerable people brought together volunteers and those they have supported for a special lunch today (Thursday 23 September).

In November 2020 Library Link, a service from Hull Libraries, setup Call and Chat, which saw volunteers making weekly or fortnightly befriending telephone calls with customers.

To date, volunteers have made more than 500 calls lasting a total of more than 15,500 minutes. Many of these regular telephone calls continue almost a year on from the project’s creation.

The event at the Freedom Centre today was the first time that volunteers from Library Link have met the people they have been speaking to and supporting – some for almost a year.

Sue Clark is one of the Library Link volunteers who has been making calls since the start of the project. She regularly rings five customers.

Sue said: “Call and chat is two-way, both sides get a positive experience from it in my experience. There are lots of lonely people who look forward to their regular phone call – you might be the only person they’ve spoken to that day. I really believe in this project.”

The event was held at the Freedom Centre in Hull.

One of the users of the service said: “It breaks the day up. As I’m elderly, I don’t go out much apart from to get my shopping.

“The days seem particularly long at this time of year. The calls give me a boost and we can have a laugh and a chat.”

Library Link includes the Home Library Service, a books on wheels service that delivers library books to Hull residents who find it difficult to leave their homes.

Councillor Marjorie Brabazon, chair of Hull Culture and Leisure, said: “One of the most upsetting and difficult consequences of the pandemic is that it has left many people, especially the elderly, feeling isolated and even abandoned. Call and Chat has helped many people within our community avoid feeling like this.

“Call and Chat has been invaluable over the past year and I’m delighted that some of the incredible volunteers got to meet the people, who they have made such a difference to, at this special event today.”

For more information about Library Link, telephone 01482 331254.

For more information about volunteering, telephone the same number or email [email protected]

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