LANCASHIRE Volunteering Partnership has set up a befriending scheme to help vulnerable members of the community cope with social isolation during the Coronavirus outbreak.

The scheme, which will see volunteers take part in friendly phone conversations with those in need of companionship, also encourages both the volunteers themselves and those in need to stay at home during this crisis, thus helping to limit the spread of infection.

The partnership emphasises that the scheme is strictly a telephone services and that home visits are prohibited.

In a statement they said: “We are entering uncertain times and are looking for more people to support older or isolated people by offering their time to check-in on how people are by phone.”

“Would you like to make a difference to someone's week by offering a friendly call? We are looking for people who have excellent listening skills and enjoy a good old-fashioned chat on the telephone.”

The scheme is part of a county-wide operation and runs across Blackburn, Burnley and East Lancashire and is open to volunteers from all walks of life, provided they have access to telephones, the internet and ideally Skype.

The scheme requires volunteers to take part in conversations with at risk, lonely or vulnerable adults for up to 40 minutes at least once a week.

Conversations will be aimed simply at providing reassurance, friendliness and companionship to those in need.

Volunteers will also be able to help befriending partners access crucial supplies while they are in self-isolation by putting them in touch with Partnership staff.

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