Search site

Lockdown 'Phone Buddies' support each other through Covid crisis

People who have never met face to face have been helping each other through the coronavirus crisis in Swansea with regular chats and a listening ear.

Ronan Ruddy

When lockdown started Swansea Council's Local Area Coordinators were tasked with helping those who were lonely, isolated or had been told to shield access a friendly voice on the other end of the phone.

Each community developed its own approach and Ronan Ruddy (pictured), who is the LAC for Gorseinon and Loughor, put out an appeal for 'phone buddies' willing to keep in touch with others.

Three months on and some firm friendships have been made with many hoping as restrictions are lifted they can finally meet in person.

Among those looking forward to getting together are Pippa and Michelle who have chatted every Sunday since lockdown began.

Pippa said: "I was desperate to volunteer but I am self-isolating so when I saw the appeal from Ronan for 'phone buddies' I thought that was something I could do.

"I was given the phone numbers of two ladies and I ring each of them once a week to see how they are.

"We chat about this and that and it has been good for me as well, so it is beneficial all round."

Michelle said: "I've always been a bit of a loner but it is nice to have someone to talk to and she seems really nice.

"You can get a bit anxious with everything that is going on, it's not a good time for anyone at the moment, but I have enjoyed talking to Pippa.

"It would be nice to meet up one day to say hello properly."

More than 120 volunteers came forward in Ronan's area to offer their help as 'phone buddies' or to assist those isolating with essential shopping or accessing medication.

Ronan said: "The community response has been amazing.

"The phone buddies who have volunteered are often people who shielding themselves but who wanted to provide help and support to their community.

"Some really nice friendships have come about and people are really looking forward to meeting up."

Cllr Clive Lloyd, Swansea Council's Cabinet Member for Adult Care & Community Health Services, said: "The 'phone buddy' scheme is yet another great example of how the Local Area Coordinators, with the help of volunteers, have supported people in all communities in Swansea cope during this crisis.

"It is heartening to hear that real friendships have developed and that our communities really have come together to support one and another.

"I'd like to thank all those who have volunteered, whether it be as phone buddy, or those who have helped the vulnerable and isolated to access food and medication or have carried out any of the other many acts of kindness that have taken place in the last three months."

Powered by GOSS iCM