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Last modified: 29 Jul 2020 10:32am

Older lady, short white hair and red jacket talking on a cordless phoneFor many Selwyn residents, the calendar is now filled with cancelled club events and social get-togethers due to COVID-19. The Springs Day Club decided to make the most of that spare time, supporting people through the lockdown period.

The club had to cancel its meetings, every third Wednesday at the Lincoln Event Centre for a day of activities, conversations and homecooked meals.

But not all ties are cut for these retired members of the community, as club volunteer Rita Tipples and nine other volunteers have initiated a calling roster.

“All of them have got phones, so what we thought we’d do is divide all the members up between the volunteers and then just take half a dozen each and ring them on a regular basis.”

The volunteers will check to see how each member is managing and ease the confusion of information received from the media for members with hearing loss.

Rita says it is important check up on elderly because with their social events suddenly cut off, they will have time to worry and dwell on things that are not good for mental health.

“To have your children or your grandchildren phone you is really good. How can you get by if you haven’t got the latest frozen meal in your freezer? Phone Gran! She’s been through difficult times, she’ll know! And then that makes the older people feel more useful.”
She suggests older people can phone and share recipes and household traditions in exchange for help with technology from their grandchildren.

The words hi neighbour written in chalk on a pavement with a drawing three love hearts and a flowerIf you are feeling isolated, alone or in need of conversation, you don’t need all the latest technology to connect with people.
The Council Community Development Team has put together some ways that you can still keep your social distance, look after yourself and feel connected:

  • Pick up the telephone and call your immediate family. Find out what your grandchildren are doing or give them a task to complete.
  • Get in touch with your neighbours. Call them. Say hello to them over fence as they are putting their washing on the line. Leave a friendly note in their letterbox with your telephone number or use chalk to write them a note on their driveway.
  • If you belong to a club—even though your meetings are cancelled, you can still contact other members that you know. If you don’t have contact numbers for members in your club, ring and ask your club president – or ring the Council and we will help connect you to your club.
  • If you are a club president or treasurer, consider putting together a phone calling roster so you can ensure all your members are okay.

If none of the above apply to you, Selwyn has some excellent service providers awaiting your phone call.

Age Concern Canterbury
366 0903 or 0800 803 344
They have teams and volunteers taking calls from people who are feeling lonely and would like to connect.

Generation House Salvation Army
They have a service where people can connect with someone else through the phone, pen pals or emails. If you can’t complete their online form, call them on (03) 347 0934 and leave a message for them to get back to you or call the Community Development team at SDC who would be happy to fill in the form for you.

Or you can call the provider in your area for volunteers to connect with you:

Lincoln Community Care:
03 325 2007

Ellesmere Community Care Organization (ECCO):
324 4080 or 027 524 8080

Malvern Ward Two Rivers Community Trust:
021 122 9317

Selwyn Central Community Care:
027 313 1122