A new telephone service has been launched to give volunteer-led support to isolated residents in Dumfries and Galloway.
Touch Base is provided and monitored by Third Sector Dumfries and Galloway and will build a relationship between a volunteer and resident during the Covid-19 crisis.
It complements other services already being provided locally and nationally.
The initial volunteers are part of Dumfries and Galloway Befriending Project, but additional support is available if required.
Tesco Mobile and Dixons Carphone have kindly donated phones to allow the service to be set up.
The role of the volunteer is to form a trusting relationship and provide informal social support to the service user to reduce feelings of isolation during lockdown.
The service responds to referrals from Dumfries and Galloway Council’s contact centre, which processes requests for support from vulnerable individuals and groups. The helpline number for this is 03033 333000 or the national number for Scotland is 08001 114000.
The volunteer will perform two key roles: ensure basic needs are being met and reduce feelings of social isolation.
If the volunteer feels that the resident requires more targeted support, then this can then be arranged through health or social care support services. If people are already using another support service, then they should continue to do so.
Norma Austin Hart, chief executive officer of Third Sector Dumfries and Galloway, said: “Our volunteers will have a ‘blether’ with the resident on topics that they enjoy. The main aim will be to reduce isolation of our more vulnerable residents, but it will also be an opportunity to see if they require any further support.”
Kesah Trowell, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Dixons Carphone, said: “We are very pleased to donate mobile phones to help this volunteer-led COVID-19 support service provide vital support to residents across Dumfries and Galloway. Technology is an important way to connect with people at the best of times, but this crisis highlights just how integral it is in helping us to access support and maintain some sort of normality amid unprecedented circumstances.”
A Tesco Mobile spokesperson added: “It’s our privilege to be able to help people stay connected, especially those that are vulnerable. We hope our Little Help makes a difference during this difficult time.”