Friendly Call Cork has won the Communication Award at the National Age Friendly Recognition and Achievements Awards.
The service providing a daily phone call to older people or individuals who may feel lonely, isolated and vulnerable in Cork city took home the win of the Communication category at a ceremony in Dromoland Castle recently.
Speaking to The Echo, Friendly Call Cork’s Brenda Barry said: “All our clients and volunteers are so delighted to have won the National Age Friendly Recognition and Achievement Communication Award.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our volunteers for their tireless energy and dedication to all our clients during the last few years which have been extremely difficult. We look forward to continuing to support older and isolated people into the future.” The service was established by Cork City Partnership in 2010 to address social isolation of older people living in the Gurranabraher area of Cork city before extending to city-wide in 2011.
The aim of the service is to reach and support the most isolated older persons in the community by offering a daily phone call five days a week to older people or individuals who may feel lonely, isolated, or vulnerable. The service specifically targets people with chronic illness or anyone who cannot engage in an active way in the community.
The volunteer caller provides friendship and security helping clients feel safer at home. If a client does not answer, the Friendly Caller will phone a member of their family, a neighbour or a friend, which Ms Barry said has “literally saved lives”.
“Following the impact of Covid-19 on our service, we have increased our daily call numbers to 380 clients (over 70% increase), with over 70 volunteers working remotely.
“Referrals come from HSE staff, Cork City Council Community Call, ALONE, Garda, voluntary organisations, family members, self-referral.
“We are receiving new referrals every week and are busier now than at any other time since we started in 2011,” she said.