Charity’s new telephone service to target loneliness

Phone Friends volunteer Christine Richardson
Phone Friends volunteer Christine Richardson

Age UK Oxfordshire is combining the festivities of the Banbury Old Town Party this weekend with the launch of its new telephone befriending service.

The rebranded Phone Friends, previously known as Phone Link, will be unveiled at the charity’s centre in White Lion Walk on Saturday, June 29.

Phone Friends is a free and confidential service where trained volunteers make nearly 200 friendly calls a week to older people in Oxfordshire who are isolated or lonely.

Phone Friends co-ordinator Paula Donaldson said: “I used to be a Phone Link volunteer myself so I’ve always been passionate about it.

“It’s such a wonderful service with friendly volunteers who want to chat to lonely people – it’s simply a friend at the end of the phone, which is what makes it so special.” In addition to day-to-day conversation, the phone friends are also able to signpost people to other Age UK Oxfordshire services they may need, such as benefits or foot care.

“I absolutely love it and the best thing is that you know you’re really making a difference,” said Mrs Donaldson.

The centre will be open between 11am and 3pm on Saturday as part of the Old Town Party and there will be cake, tea and coffee for anyone who wants to pop in to find out more and meet the friendly team.

Those interested in volunteering can contact Mrs Donaldson on 01295 278040. For more information about the charity and its services,