The Reconnect 50+ project in Merthyr has been keeping in touch with isolated older people in new ways during the pandemic.
At the start of the pandemic, lockdown caused all of our social activity groups to close, so the project moved to providing a telephone support service on a weekly basis. Volunteer mentors kept in touch by phone as best they could but generally the phones used were old style phones that didn’t allow for communication by WhatsApp messaging or video calls. Furthermore, some clients were hard of hearing so a video call allowing lip reading would have helped.
Thanks to colleagues in Voluntary Action Merthyr Tydfil (VAMT) and the local authority the Reconnect 50+ project was encouraged to apply for a Friend in Need grant. These grants, which were made available to support the Welsh Government loneliness and isolation strategy, were used to support a number of befriending projects in Merthyr.
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