Saint Francis Hospice OrangeLine a lifeline to the isolated, lonely and recently bereaved

An OrangeLine volunteer. Picture: Saint Francis Hospice

An OrangeLine volunteer. Picture: Saint Francis Hospice - Credit: Archant

In our weekly column from Saint Francis Hospice, OrangeLine assistant Anita Millar explains the valuable role her team of volunteers are playing in reaching out to support people who are lonely and isolated.

Reaching out from kitchens, bedrooms and even the garden are our wonderful OrangeLine volunteers.

Within a couple of days of the government’s lockdown, extra technical support was purchased so our invaluable network of volunteers could stay safe while continuing to provide our confidential telephone service for people who are isolated, lonely or recently bereaved.

We feel that our clients need us now more than ever.

They need someone to speak to and to give reassurance, guidance and support.

We spend time and use our many years of experience to help those who need a little extra support at this time to feel that they are not alone, that someone is listening and really does care about how they are feeling and coping. People like 86-year-old Patsy, who lives alone in a block of flats in Ilford. She has no family to support her. She is lonely and says that it is like living in a prison.

She doesn’t really know her neighbours - just hears the banging of the doors to know that there is someone that lives in the block with her.

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She is too scared to watch the telly as the news just makes her more frightened. Our calls to her are the highlight of her week.

And Kevin, who has lost his wife a few months ago. He says he doesn’t mind the isolation as it’s helping him get used to life without his wife of 51 years.

What he is finding really hard at the moment is that he can’t hug his son, who he knows is heartbroken at the loss of his mum. They talk every day, but Kevin says it isn’t the same.

He likes our calls as he says he can really say what upsets him or is making him anxious. He is trying so hard to be brave for his son. He doesn’t want to add to his pain at the moment and he says that, without our calls, he wouldn’t know what he would do.

We want people to know that we are here for them, whatever they want to talk about and we are always just a phone call away.

You can call OrangeLine 9-5 Monday to Friday on 01708 758649.

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