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Tania’s story of telephone befriending

I’m Tania and I’m a support volunteer at Foothold. One part of my role I especially love is telephone befriending, which does what it says on the tin. I get matched with members of the Foothold community and have conversations over the phone with them, for as long and as often as they need.

Some people just want a general chat, whereas others might want to talk about a specific issue or challenge they’re facing. There’s no judgement or pressure to talk about anything they don’t feel comfortable with. In situations like these, it can often help to talk to someone you don’t know, as it makes it easier to be honest and open up more.

Brightening up someone’s day

One of the community members I speak to regularly is Stuart, who I’ve been speaking to since August 2020. At the start we’d speak every week, but now that Stuart’s in a better place than he was we only have a call every 10-14 days.

We talk about all sorts of things – most of the time it’s as simple as what we’ve been watching on the TV, or what’s going on in the news.

“It’s just about having that everyday conversation with someone who might be missing out, and feels they need that reassuring, friendly connection to help brighten up their day.”

The best thing about being a telephone befriender for Foothold is knowing that just by making the time to talk to someone over the phone, you really can change their life for the better. We all need companionship to stay happy and healthy, but for people like Stuart, it can help bring them a sense of peace and belonging that might be missing from their day-to-day experiences.

No-one should feel alone

December can be a really tough and isolating time for lots of people, which is why it’s so important that befriending schemes like Foothold’s are available. Many people are excluded in some way from taking part in social and community life, whether it’s because of ill health, disability, caring responsibilities or mental health issues.

“The way I see it is, taking half an hour out of my day to connect with someone who’s struggling costs me nothing, but it makes a world of difference to them.”

If you’re struggling for any reason and could use some support, you’re not alone. Our team is ready to listen and help. Get in touch with us now. 

Michael Hargreaves, author of How Foothold’s new Engineering Neurodiverse Futures programme can support you to achieve your career goals

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