Connecting people who are experiencing social isolation
Two’s Company is a telephone befriending programme run by Kidron Project to connect isolated people in our community.
The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the issues of isolation and disconnect from community for many people. Two’s Company was developed by Linking Lives UK and is aimed at those most vulnerable to the effects of social isolation due to their age, location, health issues or other factors.
There is increasing national and international evidence of the negative impact that loneliness and isolation can have on quality of life. Recent reports highlight the effects of loneliness on biological, physical, and mental health and one found that there was a 50% increased likelihood of survival for those with strong social connections.
The same study found that having weak social connections carried a health risk equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day or being an alcoholic. Loneliness is also considered more harmful than not exercising and twice as harmful as obesity.
Statistics released on 18th November 2020 (Office for National Statistics) have revealed a huge 4.2 million Brits now say they feel lonely most or all the time (compared with 2.6 million before the pandemic)! This is one of the many heart-breaking side effects brought about through this year’s coronavirus pandemic – something that will have touched us all in various ways.
While we have probably all been bombarded with statistics this year regarding the coronavirus and its far-reaching implications, it’s worth taking a moment to really let this sink in. These statistics represent our neighbours, our friends, our family members – it could be any of us. Relationship and community are clearly essential for our wellbeing.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
- Volunteers form a team of telephone befrienders and decide how much time they wish to be available per week.
- Kidron Project provides appropriate training on how to conduct calls, safeguarding etc.
- Referrals for phone calls are made to the Coordinator, and they then match a telephone befriender with someone requesting a phone call, called a ‘Link Friend’.
- The Link Friend will receive a phone call from their befriender around once a week for 4 months or more, providing much needed companionship during a difficult time.
- Calls are usually 30 minutes or more in length and arranged for a mutually convenient time.