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National Lottery Helping Battle Loneliness
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National Lottery Helping Battle Loneliness

The ongoing health crisis has affected us in many ways. One major problem has been isolation and the National Lottery funded B-Friend Hub project in Omagh in Northern Ireland is helping deal with the pain that this causes.

The B-Friend Hub is run by the Omagh Volunteer Centre. They are helping people such as Philippa who has Addison’s disease. This gland disorder puts her on the vulnerable list, so isolation has been a way of life for her this year.

The 77-year-old hasn’t had any visitors (including her immediate family) or left her supported living accommodation since March of this year. Life alone in her small room is spent watching television and doing crosswords.

That’s not easy to cope with but help is at hand from the B-Friend Hub project that has received funding from the National Lottery. Each day, Philippa receives a phone call from a trained volunteer. It’s a link to the outside world for her and much appreciated.

A Vital Daily Call

“I really survive for my daily telephone call,” said Philippa. “We chat about absolutely everything and anything. About what’s going on during this pandemic as well as family, love, music, history and the weather of course.”

The National Lottery funding has enabled the project to train volunteers, send out activity packs with hand sanitisers and masks, crosswords (that’s delighted Philippa) and wordsearch books and even drawings by children from local primary schools.

The Only Voice heard all day

Shirlee McKeown has been a volunteer for a year now. She loves speaking to clients as often hers is the only voice they hear that day. “at the end of the call they tell you they’re feeling much better. It gives you a real wee buzz. It’s like a rainbow has come out from behind the cloud.” It’s a great example of how the National Lottery helps good causes.

More volunteers are needed though to deal with the problem of loneliness... This is a problem that isn’t going to go away anytime soon.

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