It is undeniable that lockdown has been really hard but as isolated as we may have felt, it is comforting to know we are all in this together, and it is still possible to meet new people and make friends, even if we can’t get out as much as we used to. We have a lovely story of a remote friendship to put a smile on your face and let you know, that although we are apart, we can still find ways to come together.
Cecelia has been a member of Deafblind NI for about two years. When the pandemic hit, she decided to become a volunteer telephone befriender to give her something to do and to help make a difference in our community.
She was matched with John, who also lives in Northern Ireland, and they began talking for about an hour each week. These phone calls provided some companionship as they would talk about how their week went, and lift each other up when concerns about Covid-19 crept in. They eventually found out that they both had the same eye condition, meaning they were able to empathise and share the devices they each found helpful. John and Cecelia are both hoping to meet when it is safe to do so, as they have a strong friendship. When asked about their friendship, Cecelia said, “At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, I felt very isolated and my anxiety levels were raised as I was worried and frightened for myself and my family. Being able to volunteer as a telephone befriender has helped to reduce my feelings of isolation. Deafblind UK staff have helped so much whenever I have felt worried or needed someone to talk to”.
Cecelia, and we at Deafblind UK, encourage those who are feeling lonely to reach out and get in touch. There is always support out there for anyone who is feeling lonely or needs someone to speak to, it is extremely important to look after mental well-being at these times, and if you do choose to use one of our befriending services, you might be able to make a new friend.