A Listening Ear Dumfries & Galloway will now be able to expand its current befriending services throughout the region following funding from the National Lottery Community Fund, Improving Lives.
The project will see A Listening Ear continue its work to support people who are isolated and lonely in the region, extending its already successful telephone befriending service, commencing pop-up café get-togethers and training volunteers in NODA (No One Dies Alone) companionship.
Penny Halliday, Chair of Trustees for A Listening Ear, spoke of her gratitude for the funding.
She said “A Listening Ear was born as a result of lockdown in 2020 when a few local people in Stranraer came together to phone people who might need a friend during such a difficult time. The service quickly grew thanks to the fantastic efforts of our courageous and compassionate volunteers. We are eternally grateful to the Lottery for believing in our vision and providing the funds for us to extend our service to even more isolated and lonely people across Dumfries and Galloway”.
The services provided by A Listening Ear have proved to be a lifeline for people needing befriending support, as well as offering volunteers the opportunity to make a real difference.
Trustee and Befriending Volunteer Pat McErlean has been involved with the organisation from day one and has enjoyed every minute of it. He said, “the befriending has helped my phone friends, and has also helped me as well”. Pat, also well-known for his YouTube channel Wander with Mac, often uses his time when camping to have chats with his phone friend and recommends volunteering with A Listening Ear saying “It’s so easy; you can sit in your living room with a cuppa talking to someone – what could be more relaxing than that? The benefit comes back to you, and you feel as though you’re achieving something truly worthwhile”. His phone friend told us “Pat is right for me and has helped me in lots of ways. I enjoy our chats and he is there when things get on top of me. He has also helped me in practical ways and has been a significant support to me over the last couple of years. He knows me well now and I know him, we have banter, he never fails to phone me every Monday afternoon and he is there for me when I get stuck”.
Without the support of such committed volunteers, A Listening Ear could not provide such vital services and the charity is now keen to expand its team of volunteers, ensuring its ambitions to combat loneliness and isolation in our communities are realised.
There are enormous benefits of being a volunteer; it can improve communication skills and confidence, increase employability, improve mental health, and offers a great opportunity to meet new people.
This is a wonderful charity providing much needed support to people in our community and our hope is that this caring, nurturing philosophy will further strengthen our local society in very difficult times.
If you are interested in becoming part of A Listening Ear’s dedicated volunteering team, please visit their website at www.a-listening-ear.org for further information or contact by phone on 07466 867570.