For those of us living in a world surrounded by smart phones and social networking, it is sometimes easy to forget how comforting hearing a human voice can be. Many people in the United Kingdom, however, are affected by the largely hidden problem of social isolation.
There are many factors contributing to social isolation – age, disability, even rural isolation.
Refugees, too, face many barriers to social inclusion – linguistic, cultural and psychological. They face great financial hardship in the UK while their claims to remain here are processed. This isolates them from almost all human contact in their adopted country.
That is why Community Network is committed to investing the money it derives from its teleconferencing services to supporting befriending groups that help socially excluded people at no cost.
We do this in two ways: by supporting telephone befriending groups directly, via our state-of-the-art telephone conferencing equipment, and by training facilitators to lead the groups.
Our befriending groups are in the main run by other charities, such as the RNIB, Seafarers UK and even a Roman Catholic Church in Essex, whose housebound parishioners can participate at Mass by telephone.
Among the many proven benefits of telephone befriending are a renewed sense of belonging, increased self-esteem and confidence, the making of reliable and trustworthy friends, and increased physical health.
Social inclusion benefits everyone – end users, their families and communities, and us all, by living in as welcoming a society as possible.