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Like to chat? North charity needing volunteer phone befrienders ‘more than ever’

A woman chats on the phone to her Sight Scotland Veterans volunteer befriender
Charity Sight Scotland Veterans is seeking volunteers for its telephone befriending service.

Charity Sight Scotland Veterans has issued a plea for volunteers – saying befrienders for its weekly phone service are needed “more than ever”.

The organisation offers people with sight loss a weekly catch-up with a friendly voice, helping them feel less lonely and isolated.

And with many having shielded during the pandemic, or unable to leave the house for mobility reasons, it could be some of the only social contact they receive.

Sight Scotland Veterans says its services are in additional demand – and needs extra people to offer a listening ear and a chat to laugh or reminisce.

The value of a friendly conversation and social connection can never be underestimated.”

Alison McPherson, one of the charity’s north-east outreach workers, said: “Some older veterans with sight loss are housebound due to health and mobility reasons, or have found the need to rebuild their confidence in going out into the community again due to the pandemic’s impact.

“Aside from with ourselves and health care workers, many have very little social contact with other people.

“A social telephone chat on a regular basis with a friendly, reliable person can really help individuals to feel less lonely and support their wellbeing and confidence building.”

Volunteer befrienders needed

Alongside potential telephone befrienders, the organisation is also asking for volunteers to meet others in person.

This could be joining someone for a cup of tea or accompanying them on a walk.

Volunteer development manager James Whyte said: “After such a difficult two years in this pandemic, volunteer befrienders are more needed than ever.

“The value of a friendly conversation and social connection can never be underestimated.

“These volunteer roles are so uplifting and rewarding, while making a big difference to someone’s life.”

Sight Scotland Veterans was rebranded from Scottish War Blinded in 2020.

Its sister organisation, Sight Scotland, was previously called Royal Blind and was founded in 1793.

Those interested in volunteering can call 0131 446 2154 for more information, or visit the charity’s website.

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