Sent with love: The project ensuring no one is forgotten through Covid-19

Tuesday 28th April 2020

A befriending service for elderly people in Manchester is overcoming loneliness in new ways since the spread of Covid-19 suspended its traditional weekly visits, instead sending greetings cards, making phone calls and offering essential support.

St Joseph’s Welfare and Befriending Service, a project run by local charity Caritas Salford, supports elderly and vulnerable people in Manchester and has been running for more than 40years.

Despite the latest challenges faced by Covid-19, the team at St Joseph’s Welfare and Befriending Service have not let their mission of making sure no older person is lonely be defeated. Its team of committed staff and volunteers have picked up their pens and taken to snail mail to send more than 80 messages of hope, support, and friendship which will drop through the letterboxes of those facing increased isolation.

As well as this, the team at St Joseph’s have been regularly checking in by phone, collecting shopping for those unable to leave their homes and have delivered meals to over 50 older people.

One service user at St Joseph’s said: “I am overjoyed with the care from SJWS. It was a lucky day I was introduced to SJWS through my late wife who was referred to the service. The work that you are doing to help vulnerable people is amazing. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

Sr Mary Considine, senior support worker at the service, said: “I feel our encounter with the older people at this time is of great benefit to them. They know that we are a reliable service available to them. They are all enjoying the chat over the phone, some are having a cooked meal twice per week, others are having shopping done for them. All are expressing appreciation – particularly of the cooked meals.”

Mark Wiggin, CEO of Caritas Salford, said: “It is important that no one is, or feels, forgotten during this time despite the disruption we are all facing. Even something as small as writing a greeting card to remind the recipient that they are not alone can make a world of difference.”

Caritas has 22 projects based around the Diocese of Salford which are helping to support our community’s most in need during this time with accessing food, support and combatting isolation.

Help Caritas to continue its support by visiting Justgiving.

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