For the past nine years, the Friendly Phone Call Service has been providing a vital link to community activities and events for older people across the county from its premises in Longford town.
“It was developed in 2007 by LCRL (Longford Community Resources Ltd) and the County Development Board in conjunction with the County Longford Older Persons Network,” explained LCRL's Support Worker for the project, Peter Masterson. “The service operates from an office on Earl Street and it's manned by volunteers who have a list of people that they will keep in regular contact with.
“LCRL supports the service on a day-to-day basis, covering the costs of things such as renting the premises.”
Mr Masterson went on to outline that the service is free and that the phone lines are manned by a small group of dedicated individuals.
“Mary Farrell, is the co-ordinator and she makes calls, as do Tish Quinn and Nini Murray, who are registered and managed by Longford Volunteer Centre,” he said. “There are over 30 people on the call list, with about 75 per cent being female and 25 per cent male.
“The volunteers will make a call at an agreed time each week,” Mr Masterson continued. “It allows people to keep informed about events and activities in the community, as well as services that are available to them, but it's more than that, too: it's a friendly voice and a listening ear. They have the freedom to talk about whatever they're interested in talking about – that's the key thing. With that, too, a level of trust is built up.”
The Friendly Phone Call Service operates from 10am to 4pm, Monday to Thursday, and anyone interested in being added to the Friendly Phone Call Service's call list can do so by phoning 043 3349678.