Like so many, we at CNCA have been impacted by the Covid-19 situation. We were working from home until the end of the summer and have, therefore, had to adapt our service and run it in a different way. We returned to the office on 1st September but following the move to tier 2 restrictions and the further lockdown imposed on 5th November, our office is again closed and we are still unable to carry out our befriending home visits. UPDATE January 2022: We resumed our home visits in the autumn of 2021 but following the move to level 3 on 13/12/21 we are again working from home.
So many have been more isolated than ever before due to the Covid-19 virus and we have been working closely with the Council and other community organisations to provide befriending support to those most vulnerable people. In partnership with Age UK Croydon and our member groups, we are providing comprehensive befriending support to individuals over 60 across the borough.
Specifically, CNCA's current role is to provide a telephone befriending service for those who are over 65, infirm, isolated and housebound and who have little or no contact with other people. Referrals that do not meet this criteria, are passed on to AGE UK Croydon and our member groups.
We'd love to share some 'good news' stories here:
As part of CNCA’s Complex Befriending Service, we provide support to many vulnerable people. One of these is a gentleman who lives on his own. He has been bereaved, losing both of his parents, and has recently become a victim of crime.
The Coronavirus outbreak and the ensuing period of uncertainty has left him feeling incredibly anxious and he has been missing home visits from Margaret, one of our befrienders. As well as regular phone calls, Margaret has worked tirelessly over the past few weeks to set up a Skype call. Eventually, this week, after a lot of persuasion and perseverance, she managed to call him on Skype.
He was over the moon at being able to chat while seeing her face on the screen. The image before Margaret was of a very happy man, with considerably longer hair but a huge smile. It really made his day and helped him deal with the worries that had been building up.
Another call has been scheduled and he feels so much happier having this to look forward to.
F is a young-at-heart lady in her early 80s who suffered a stroke in 2019. She could no longer drive her car, as she suffered from dizziness, confusion and balance problems. F is a fighter and she managed to find practical ways of coping, such as batch-cooking, so she could eat healthy food every day. She is very house-proud and keeps her home in a good state, even though she feels wiped out afterwards.
F found it very hard to come to terms with the loss of her confidence and independence, and she found it even hard to accept help. Over several weeks, prior to lockdown, we visited her and worked hard to reassure her that there are other ways to be independent, using technology, and engaging more with local organisations.
Subsequently, during COVID-19 she is proficiently skyping her relatives and receiving regular calls from the Selsdon Contact Centre. She is determined to walk to the Centre once the Covid-19 situation is over, and get to know more people in her local area.
M is a lady in her 80s who is bed-bound due to medical conditions. She is quite isolated although she has some good friends who she speaks with by phone regularly. She loves a chat and has lots of good memories of Mario Lanza, who she met as a young woman.
Sadly, her nearest relative passed away during the Covid-19 period and, obviously, she was unable to attend the funeral. As we are unable to visit her, our team have been working hard to support her through her bereavement by telephoning her more regularly and making sure she always has someone to talk to.
M is a lady who lives alone in a large house in Purley. She has no close relatives but has some good friends and neighbours. During the Covid-19 crisis her neighbours were not able to help her with her shopping as they had in the past, so we made a referral to CVA, who make regular shopping trips for her, with the help of volunteers, who drop off her shopping after she pays for it by phone.
Prior to her first delivery from CVA, our befriending coordinator, Laura, wasn't sure that she would have enough to see her through and so delivered some shopping to her in the meantime.
M is looking forward to the lockdown coming to an end so that we can begin home visits.
K is a gentleman in his mid 90s who has regular calls from one of our volunteers. K has lead a full life and has lots of memories of the war. He is a very young-at-heart, lively person, and he enjoys the mental stimulation of a good chat. Our volunteer has a cheeky sense of humour like K, and he loves it when our volunteer teases him, and they keep each other on their toes. K looks forward to her calls and they they have developed a great rapport.