Friday 15th October 2021
The RAF Benevolent Fund is looking for volunteers to support its Telephone Friendship group service.
The service provides a weekly phone call for RAF veterans and partners or spouses of former personnel to ease loneliness and social isolation. The service became a lifeline during the pandemic, when vulnerable older people were asked to shield to protect themselves from Covid-19.
As a result, in the last six months the number of veterans being supported by Telephone Friendship Groups has gone up by 29%.
RAF veteran Reg Lawrence is one of them. He described the difference it makes to him: “Without the Fund I’d spend all day on my own. I really look forward to the calls. Whatever we talk about we always have a lot of laughter. It makes a real difference.”
Each of the calls is managed by a volunteer facilitator who is there to support the group throughout the call. All facilitators are given training before being introduced to their group.
Volunteer Jo Terrey wanted to give something back to the Fund, after she and her family received support when she left the RAF. She said: “I love listening to the guys. They are fantastic. I love what they talk about and I love the banter. I get out of it as much as they do, if not more. You get to have an insight into what they are doing, especially in these difficult times it is so important to have these kinds of communications.”
If you could donate one hour of your time a week to support this vital service we’d love to hear from you. If you are unable to commit to one hour a week, we also need facilitators who provide ad-hoc cover for those on holiday or sick etc. To find out more please contact Welfare Services Executive Sally Austin at [email protected]
Image: RAF veteran Reg Lawrence, left; volunteer facilitator Jo Terrey. Photo: RAF Benevolent Fund