Focus Birmingham has launched a dedicated new volunteer-led Talking Telephone Friends Service as part of our Visual Impairment Support team.

All of our Talking Telephone Friends volunteers have a visual impairment themselves and are able to provide real empathy and understanding with people losing their sight. Whilst they are not counsellors or support workers, they have all received detailed training and can provide really valuable support through conversation and a listening ear.

The Telephone Befriender Volunteer will make a call on a pre-arranged day and time each week (Monday – Friday 9:00 – 4:30) lasting around 20 minutes and there are no costs involved. You can talk about anything you want, from local news to hobbies and interests, and they can access information from the wider support team to answer specific questions.

If you live in Birmingham and would like to register your interest in receiving a call (or to refer someone else to our service) please call 0121 478 5221 to speak with someone or leave a message with your name and number saying you are interested in the Talking Telephone Friends Service. Someone will call you back to register you with the service and try to arrange a volunteer to support you but note that you may have to be placed on a waiting list while this support is being arranged. Please note that although Focus Birmingham aims to provide support to everyone affected by sight loss, this telephone-based service may not be suitable for people who have additional needs such as hearing impairment or memory loss.

The Talking Telephone Friends service has made a real difference to so many of our service users and here are a few comments we have received;

Nora: “the volunteer is chatty and puts me at ease, I really value the service”

Ray: “I found the volunteer and I have similar interests and the conversation really flows well”

Audrey: “very happy with the service and I like having someone to talk to”

From the Talking Telephone Friends volunteers who take the calls as part of the service the feedback has been just as gratifying:

Chris: “talking to different people from a variety of backgrounds is interesting and stimulating. I enjoy listening to people’s stories and experiences.”

If you know of anyone who would benefit from this vital service and would like to refer or signpost them, please get in touch with us.

This service has been made possible by a grant from Postcode Community Trust, a grant-giving charity funded entirely by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.