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Age Friendly Melksham win Lottery grant to help launch friendly phone call service

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THE National Lottery Local Community Fund have awarded Age Friendly Melksham a £2,044 grant to review and develop their Friendly Phone Call service. 

Phillipa Huxtable, Age Friendly co-ordinator said in response to the news, “This is such a great opportunity for us.  Our fantastic volunteers have been making friendly phone calls to people in the Melksham area who are living by themselves, are isolated and lonely or have lost touch with the community. 

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, volunteers have made nearly 1,500 calls to support vulnerable people struggling to get through repeated lockdowns and these difficult times; an incredible gift of their time.” 

Jon Hubbard, chair of trustees at Age Friendly Melksham said, “Relationships have been built through these regular calls and volunteers have been able to support our users throughout the last year, helping them to be resilient and keeping their spirits up.  We know these calls are valuable and now we have the chance to make the service sustainable.”

When asked how Age Friendly Melksham were planning to use the grant Phillipa said, “This will enable us to review our Friendly Phone Call service and undertake a survey of users and volunteers to give us some meaningful data about the experiences of those involved.  We know there are challenges in establishing and maintaining a social network and understanding the impact this has will help us to improve the support we offer and help more people.

“We want to be able to evidence the difference Friendly Phone Calls are making and share the great work of our volunteers. Once we have evaluated the service, we can set some clear objectives and outcomes and put an action plan in place for the future, which will ensure a robust long-term service and improved mechanisms to support volunteers, such as training and ongoing supervision.” 

Jon added, “Improvements to our database system will allow for more meaningful data to be captured and analysed for enhanced service delivery and the identification of risk.  Ultimately volunteers could be helping to prevent crises occurring.”

Phillipa finished by saying, “Taking part will give people an opportunity to share thoughts and experiences that can be used to shape the future delivery of Friendly Phone Calls for themselves and others.  They will be providing valuable feedback to Age Friendly Melksham and helping us make future plans for this and other services that support older adults in the Melksham area.”

To find out more, please contact Phillipa Huxtable at Age Friendly Melksham on 01225 667971 or by emailing phillipa@afmelksham.org.uk

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