New telephone support line for over-65s launched in Suffolk
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Over-65s in Suffolk have been given a "vital new lifeline" with a telephone support service launched to help them deal with problems in later life.
Age UK Suffolk had previously run an information and advice line for older people needing help in the county.
But when the charity was forced to close due to the pressures of the coronavirus pandemic, charity BSEVC said it "left a gap in the provision of support for older people - and this has been made even worse by the pandemic and extended periods of isolation".
The new Later Life Community Connect line is not designed to replace Age UK Suffolk's information and advice line but instead provide a "new and holistic support line that is available for people to call seven days a week".
People will be able to call 01284 334516 between 10am and 2pm, seven days a week, with any problems they are facing or to simply have a chat.
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Where necessary, BSEVC will refer callers to other organisations to help and support them, while the BSEVC team will follow up with calls at agreed intervals to check on that person's wellbeing.
A spokesman for BSEVC said: "It is often the way that it is not until someone is at crisis point, that they then start to look at the help that is available – at a time which is fraught and stressful, with emotions running high and possibly dealing with extreme grief.
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"It is imperative that people know where to turn before it is needed."
Jo Reeder, chief executive of BSEVC, added: “We are delighted to be launching this brand new service to support older people in the county.
"Working alongside our Suffolk Carers Matter and Community Transport services who often support our older community, we know how difficult it can be for older people to know who to call, when they really need a friendly voice, or advice.
"We hope that by offering this service, we can create a route of support for any older person, and champion their needs to the wider community.”
Ann Osborn, chief executive of Rural Coffee Caravan - which helps rurally isolated people in Suffolk - said: “The Coffee Caravan is delighted that this much needed new service has been launched by BSEVC.
"We know how welcome this will be to our older folk in Suffolk and we look forward to helping BSEVC share this news and to signposting rural residents to Later Life Connect, safe in the knowledge that they will get to speak to a real person and can call any day of the week. A vital new lifeline.“
People interested in volunteering to help run the service can call the Connect line or email firstname.lastname@example.org