Opening Doors London, the biggest UK charity providing support services for the over 50’s LGBTQ+ communities, has launched an urgent crowdfunding campaign in a bid to secure £15,000 of funding to help train volunteers use their telefriending service to reach those who need care the most and support telephone services.
The recent COVID-19 outbreak has resulted in the charity having to halt hundreds of face-to-face services to prevent any risk to their older members and volunteer supporters, so there’s a real issue with reaching lonely and socially isolated members of LGBTQ communities, many having no access to digital services.
As a result, they are asking for donations so that they can train current volunteers in telephone befriending and increase staff capacity to support more of the community, so as many LGBTQ+ people over 50 who are at risk of isolation have someone to speak to if needed.
One such member of the community benefitting from this is Mike, a retired doctor, who says: “I don’t have anyone else to talk to. I am self-isolating and so I won’t even get to talk to the shopkeeper. It is a great relief to know that I will actually have someone to speak to.”
Meghan Herring, Befriending Coordinator at Opening Doors London says, “As the COVID-19 outbreak affects all members of society we are working hard to protect those most a risk of being overlooked – the elderly, lonely and most isolated groups. We urgently need support crowdfunding so we can help train our volunteers in telefriending so they can continue to provide those small services, which make a big difference.
Telefriending is a lifeline. Our volunteers check in with clients at least once a week, identifying if they have enough food, determine any possible concerns that need to be escalated but most importantly talk to them about how they are feeling. It is an essential service to help address truly urgent needs during this crisis. Therefore, any donations will be appreciated and will make a huge impact as Opening Doors work to support those who are most isolated.”
Donations can be made here: https://www.openingdoorslondon.org.uk/appeal/help-us-reduce-isolation
To find out more about how you can volunteer visit: https://www.openingdoorslondon.org.uk/Pages/Category/volunteer