“When this is over, and it will be over, we want to look back at this moment and remember the many small acts of kindness done by us and to us.” Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer
Fourfront Group, the UK’s leading workplace design and fit-out consultancy have launched Hear4You, a voluntary initiative to bring people together during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The UK-wide service aims to provide a daily 15-30-minute conversation via the phone or video link to those who are feeling isolated and lonely following the UK Government’s official stay at home and social distancing policy.
There are approximately 7.7 million people who live alone in the UK, and of that number over 4 million are aged 65 and over. Social contact over the next few weeks for many will be maintained via social media, video calls and phone calls. However, many elderly citizens and vulnerable people will be left for days if not weeks without any form of human contact. Working with local and national charities Hear4You intends to offer a small but hugely significant solution.
James Cornwell, Co-Founder of Fourfront Group, comments: “In the UK more than 9 million people say they often or always feel lonely and the risk of mental issues increases substantially for people who live alone. During these uncertain times, the risk will again increase with the inability to leave the home.
“One of my colleagues was inspired by The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak’s speech when he said ‘when this is over, and it will be over, we want to look back at this moment and remember the many small acts of kindness done by us and to us.’ This is where the Hear4You concept came from and it’s our way of bringing people together as a community and doing what we can to help.
Our team at Fourfront have kindly offered their time to ensure we contact as many people as possible, and we hope the great British public will be encouraged to do the same and offer their time through this initiative”
Anne Carey, Head of Corporate Engagement at Shooting Star Children’s Hospices said, “It’s so wonderful to see such an amazing initiative being set up by Fourfront, who, as one of our Corporate Partners, have and continue to be phenomenal supporters of Shooting Star Children’s Hospices. The effect of this pandemic is far-reaching and the Hear4You service will ensure those experiencing isolation and loneliness to feel more connected and we hope those in the community will be encouraged to get involved. Fourfront is also kindly asking those that may not be able to commit their time to volunteer for the service, to consider giving a donation to our emergency appeal. We are a lifeline to so many vulnerable families, but right now are facing a very immediate and real crisis where our hospice service no longer exists - so any support and awareness raised is so gratefully received. I’d like to thank all at Fourfront for their continued support and wish them all the best with Hear4You.”
Fourfront Group are seeking further help and experience from any charities, organisations and community programmes that are willing to support or would benefit from support of this service over the next few weeks.
One such charity is Re-engage which provides support for older people at risk of social isolation across the UK. Re-engage have launched a new telephone befriending service and by linking up with Hear4You, will be able to extend this programme to reach more in need.
“We are incredibly grateful to Fourfront Group for their support of our crucial call companions programme. Older generations need us now more than ever, the current crisis around COVID-19 has meant that many older people are left socially stranded, without any prospect of social contact or conversation for an indefinite period of time. Many older people we work with have no family or social network of their own and, without the help of our volunteers, face falling further into social isolation. A call companion can help ensure that no older person is left without support when they need it most and that they are not cut off from the outside world. Partnering with Hear4You will mean we can provide even more older people with a telephone befriending service with the help of their volunteers"
Individuals can offer their time by using the sign-up form at Hear-4-You.co.uk. Anyone who is over the age of 18 and has access to a phone is eligible to volunteer.
Alternatively, if you cannot offer your time but would like to donate money Shooting Star Children’s Hospices emergency appeal visit shootingstar.org.uk/crisisappeal