A WORCESTER telephone befriender and retirement living resident who chatted during lockdown were delighted to finally meet in person last week.
Kirstie Weston, 26, who works for Sanctuary Retirement Living and Harold, 88, have spoken once a week for more than a year as part of Sanctuary’s Befriending Programme.
Despite the 60 years between them, the pair hit it off from the start, and a great friendship formed.
The pair were thrilled to meet in person when Kirstie, a marketing officer for Sanctuary Supported Living, travelled from Worcester to meet Harold at Telford’s Lawley Bank Court, a retirement community with private apartments, communal facilities, and onsite support for over 55s.
Kickstarted at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Befriending Programme aimed to connect Sanctuary’s residents with members of staff, based on shared interests.
With the rising impact of social isolation on health and well-being, the regular phone calls offer a chance to reduce residents’ feelings of loneliness and increase their support network.
Harold said: “Talking to Kirstie was a welcome distraction during the pandemic. The winter lockdowns were more difficult because of the weather, and the Wellbeing and Inclusion Assistants here had to suspend the usual group activities.”
Kirstie added: “Since speaking to Harold, Friday is one of my favourite days of the week because I can catch up with my friend. He’s got some stories to tell! It was wonderful to hear them in person.”
Sanctuary Retirement Living is committed to supporting residents and has launched a ‘Your Home Your Life’ campaign.