Council call in plans to combat coronavirus loneliness


City of Lincoln Council is launching a telephone befriending service to help those in isolation feel more socially connected.

At a time when social contact with family and friends has been restricted, it was felt urgent action was required to reduce the impact that social isolation can have amongst older adults. 

The service aims to provide friendly conversation to pre-identified vulnerable people that may be experiencing reduced social interactions during self-isolation, but anyone who feels they would benefit from regular light-hearted chats can also refer themselves to the service. 

Callers will consist of council employees currently working from home due to Government advice and it is hoped to provide socialisation benefits to both parties during this difficult time. All calls will be verified to give assurance that it is someone from the council calling. 

The befriending phone line will work in conjunction with the newly established signposting service that has been created to aid support organisations deliver vital  help to those most in need, and is part of a wider joint response from the City of Lincoln Council and our community partners to work together to deliver the most impact. 

Julie Rouston, Electoral Services Officer, who has been part of creating the scheme following the announcement that elections have been postponed, said: “This is a difficult time for many across the country and a lack of positive conversation can have a detrimental effect on mental health.

“By working with our partners collaboratively we are able to help those feeling the social impacts of isolation feel a little more connected.”

Rosanne Kirk, Portfolio Holder for Social Inclusion and Community Cohesion on City of Lincoln Council, said: “Protecting the social and mental wellbeing of some of the most vulnerable in our city is an essential priority during this difficult time. 

“Following the outbreak, staff in many departments across the council have stepped out of their regular roles to quickly create this brand new service which will offer vital support and reassurance to many who are feeling the social effects of self-isolation.” 

If you would like to refer yourself to the befriending service, you can contact the signposting team on 01522 873461/873374. 

Published on March 31st 2020