Food train expands to calling service

Borders shopping service Food Train is expanding its services in the region by launching a scheme to tackle loneliness among older people due to the covid-19 pandemic.

Tuesday, 20th July 2021, 3:14 pm
Morna O'May, Food Train Connects national development officer.

The Phone Friends service comes after work to support the organisation’s members during the pandemic highlighted the strong need for it.

It connects an older person with a volunteer who regularly phones them for a chat, giving them someone with whom they can share how they are and enjoy a laugh.

Food Train is best known for its shopping services, which have faced sustained high demand to deliver groceries to the homes of over-65s since Covid-19 took hold.

Morna O’May, who is overseeing the new phone service, said: “Covid has had a huge impact on older people who have had to shield and isolate. Because of the length of time this is going on for, they are losing confidence in being able to get back out and about again in public.

“It is creating a situation where people who had a connection to their community are losing that and those who were already isolated are feeling it even more keenly.

“The Phone Friend service is an ideal way to make connections again from the safe environment of your own home.”

The response to Phone Friend has been so positive that the service – which costs £5 per month to join – is being made available to non-members too. Phone calls can be weekly, fortnightly or less often if people wish.

Morna added: “Phone Friends allows a friendship to develop without having to involve any travelling or visiting which suits many older people and volunteers.

“We have volunteers vetted, trained and ready to be matched.”​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​