Powys Association of Voluntary Organisations launches digital befriending service
When Covid-19 forced the country into lockdown, many voluntary organisations expanded their activities to meet the needs created by the pandemic and mitigate some of the harmful social impacts. Many, including PAVO, sought to maintain their operations as best they could by taking them online.
As a rural county, many people living in Powys can be geographically isolated. When people were told to stay at home due to Covid-19, there was considerable concern that this would lead to high levels of loneliness and isolation, impacting on mental health.
Prior to the pandemic, PAVO had run a successful befriending project. Designed to help people over 50 live independently in their own homes for longer, volunteers would call in regularly to provide companionship and support; help to explore new opportunities, and support skills development. This in-person service came to an abrupt halt due to Covid-19, but PAVO responded to the on-going need by developing a digital befriending service. Digital Communities Wales supported the service by providing free digital training and resources to the befrienders, so that they could not only use digital devices and the internet confidently themselves, but also become digital volunteers and help other people.
As a result, the group organised online lunches, dancing and singalongs. Both the volunteers and those they supported had a lot of fun whilst developing their digital skills and confidence!
The feedback from befrienders was overwhelmingly positive:
“…this week I helped 2 ladies in their 70s get going with Zoom.”
“Thanks for this wonderful opportunity! I have just finished a Zoom call with one of my friends who did not have Zoom installed. It took us an hour on the phone but wow!! When we finally saw each other, it was breath taking. I have not seen her for months and it has really made her day. Now she is going to install Facebook … incredible.”
“I truly love helping others and feel so happy to have achieved this today!”
To find out more about this fantastic project visit: https://www.pavo.org.uk/help-for-people/befriending.html. To find out more and apply to become a digital volunteer with PAVO, please have a look at their advert on Volunteering Wales: Volunteering Wales Advert PAVO
Thanks for this wonderful opportunity! I have just finished a Zoom call with one of my friends who did not have Zoom installed. It took us an hour on the phone but wow!! When we finally saw each other, it was breath taking. I have not seen her for months and it has really made her day. Now she is going to install Facebook ... incredible.
PAVO digital befriending beneficiary