The donation means that elderly and vulnerable people in Charnwood can keep in contact with loved ones during the pandemic
Submitted by Ayesha Gardiner
Free mobile phones have been distributed to Charnwood community groups in response to the coronavirus lockdown.
The phones are being used to connect the elderly and vulnerable with their family and friends.
John Storer’s community centre used to run activities for the elderly before the nationwide lockdown. The lunch club was attended by 75 people a week, and they also offered a transport service and a therapeutic allotment.
As with many community groups, they sadly had to close the doors of their centre but quickly adapted and joined a local partnership to form Charnwood Community Action.
Through this partnership they have been operating a befriending service to connect volunteers with the elderly community that can no longer access the centre.
Charnwood Community Action recently received a donation of mobile phones from giffgaff and Doro via Neighbourly UK which has allowed this service to take off and support hundreds of isolated people in the community every week.
Gary, a regular at the community group, was on the befriending scheme, but his phone was so outdated that the volunteer couldn’t reach him, and it was hard for him to maintain contact with his family and friends.
He was given a free mobile phone with three months of calls, texts and data, which has made the biggest difference to his daily routine. He now speaks with a volunteer weekly and can stay connected with his family, friends and the outside world.
Candi Barnes, Wellbeing and Transport lead said: “As part of this new befriending service, we have 30 volunteers and staff connecting with 180 people a week.
“We recognised that our volunteers were making 100 phone calls a week to our service users, which was extremely expensive.
“The donation of these mobile phones has cut these costs significantly and we are delighted that this service can continue, and we can make these phone calls for free.”
Just one mobile phone per volunteer has connected lots of isolated people in Charnwood.
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