“When you ring someone for the first time, they say ‘how lovely of you to think of me.' I’m hoping that when the pandemic is over we can maintain telephone contact.”
Befriending is at the heart of what we do. In normal times, SVP members make regular visits and offer their time and friendship to lonely or isolated beneficiaries across the country.
During lockdown, many SVP members themselves were forced to self-isolate or shield vulnerable family members. Undeterred, they picked up the phone. In Sidmouth, Devon, SVP members have become a great support to their parish and local community by becoming telephone befrienders.
"When you ring someone for the first time, they say 'how lovely of you to think of me!'" says Peter McGauley from the SVP group in Sidmouth. "I'm hoping that when the pandemic is over we can maintain telephone contact."
Local SVP members in Sidmouth kept in touch with their 30 regular beneficiaries over the phone, but the word got out about their new service, and they were soon calling 120 people. New volunteers came on board, doubling their numbers. They have now expanded their services to collecting shopping and providing emergency DIY work for people in desperate need. Before they knew it, their regular acts of kindness were transformed into a support network for their local community.
SVP members give over half a million hours of their time every year to visit and befriend people in need. Learn more about joining the SVP as a member.