7 Apr 2020

St John moves to extend phone friendship service during lockdown

2:49 pm on 7 April 2020

St John ambulance is encouraging people to use its free phone friendship service to stay connected during the lockdown.

St John Ambulance generic

Photo: St John

Volunteers of the Caring Caller programme phone people regularly for a chat.

The charity says "it is well positioned to help reduce any feelings of loneliness and isolation at home" and connect "people who need a friend with people who have time to listen and chat on the phone".

Its director of community health services, Sarah Manley, said in a media statement that St John has moved to extend the free Caring Caller service to better support people in need.

"Due to Covid-19 we have had to suspend some of our Community Programmes such as Friends of the Emergency Department, Community Carers and Pet Therapy, and many of these valuable volunteers are moving into Caring Caller roles," she said.

"Our volunteers in these programmes are highly skilled in connecting with others and offering support and empathy, skills that transfer easily into the Caring Caller role. It is absolutely vital that we come together at this time to help and care for each other."

The Caring Caller service is fully funded by donations and is not a helpline, rather it is a phone friendship service.

People can go to St John's website or phone 0800 000 606 to register for themselves or their loved ones.

  • If you have symptoms of the coronavirus, call the NZ Covid-19 Healthline on 0800 358 5453 (+64 9 358 5453 for international SIMs) or call your GP - don't show up at a medical centre

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