Telephone befriending service set up by MHA creates amazing friendship built on” trust and respect”

10 March 2023

A telephone befriending scheme set up by MHA has helped two individuals create an amazing friendship.

The telephone befriending service was set up to offer support and companionship to older people who feel or are at risk of becoming lonely and/or socially isolated across the UK.

John Stedman was in a very difficult place following the death of his wife Sheila, who he was married to for 57 years.

He was encouraged by his grief counsellor who helped him to get in touch with the Befriending team at MHA.

He then got involved in the scheme and that was where he was introduced to 23-year-old volunteer Ellie Tyzack in September 2022.

Since then the pair have been having weekly calls via the telephone and virtually on Zoom.

Speaking on the service John said: “The calls with Ellie have really helped me through a very difficult time in my life.

“The Befriending service at MHA is a wonderful initiative and something that will continue to help me and hopefully plenty of other people out there.

“The Befriending team encouraged me a great deal and helped to speak and I am feeling a lot better now 

“Ellie is an amazing person, she helped me to smile and the conversations I have with her have been a joy. 

“I want to thank her from the bottom of my heart and I believe our friendship, which is built on trust and respect, will only age and never end.”

Ellie added: “I also started talking to John at a time when I felt quite directionless.

“I was living at my parents' house at the time, looking for jobs and houses post-university. 

Having John as part of my support network really helped give me a confidence boost and understand my worth.

“I am now very content with new jobs and a new house, encouraged wholeheartedly by John's wisdom, advice, and belief in me. 

“I have been able to confide in John, as he does in me.

“John and I talk about the big and the small, from our values and philosophies on love and life to our favourite foods and supermarket tales. 

“John has been able to reminisce on his life, relaying stories of the past - music, places and fashions.

“On the phone, I get a true picture painted for me - a real insight into a time I would never otherwise enter and I feel very lucky to be trusted to share someone's most precious memories.”

MHA are currently recruiting telephone befrienders to help more older people like John, to find out more and get involved visit our telephone befriending page >

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