St John needs more friendly callers

NEIL RATLEY
Last updated 05:00 12/02/2013

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St John is calling for volunteers to man the phones in a new initiative for the south offering support and friendship to lonely people.

Caring Caller is a new community service in Invercargill, Bluff and Riverton.

St John Invercargill area executive officer Sally Jarvie said St John was launching the new community service as a form of positive intervention and was looking for volunteers who could spare a small amount of time on a regular basis.

Caring Caller - operating very successfully in other parts of the country - was a community programme that offered support to people vulnerable to becoming lonely and cut off from their community, she said.

"Volunteers make contact by telephone at a time that is mutually agreed to by both them and their client," Mrs Jarvie said.

"There are people who are vulnerable, lonely and find it difficult to get out into their community," says Mrs Jarvie.

Caring Caller helped to prevent people becoming isolated.

"It is a friendship programme and an attempt is made to match a volunteer with a member of the community needed in support through common interests," she said.

Caring Caller volunteers did not replace family members, friends or neighbours, but the service could be helpful when those people were away or unable to visit or call on a regular basis.

St John provided full training and a supportive environment and was encouraging people interested in Caring Caller to contact the organisation, Mrs Jarvie said. People interested in learning more about Caring Caller should contact St John Invercargill.

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- The Southland Times

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