Health, Latest News | Posted: Monday, June 8th, 2020 at 2:16 pm | return to news

Enhanced befriending scheme for vulnerable people

The last three months have been very difficult for residents who have been told to shield, and although some are now able to go out for socially distancing walks, many are still confined to their homes.


Dorset Council and key partners in the community response to COVID-19 are concerned about these vulnerable people. They have therefore asked volunteer ‘befrienders’ who are supporting those most at risk from coronavirus to help spot the signs that a person may have become more frail or prone to falls because of their reduced ability to exercise and keep active.

The volunteers, working on behalf of Age UK North, South & West Dorset, are being asked to listen out for key words and phrases which describe the feelings of the person they help, such as: frail, weaker, less balanced and likely to fall  as these indicate the person will benefit from help to get more active.

They will also ask the person they befriend:

  1. Has there been any change to your ability to get about as usual since you have been self-isolating?
  2. Has there been any change to your ability to complete your usual activities, such as leisure activities or housework?

If the answer is yes to any of these questions, the befriender can ask the vulnerable person if they consent to being referred to the reablement services on offer from the council’s care provider Tricuro.

There is no charge for this service and a wide variety of support is on offer – from information and guidance, to practical support such as equipment to improve independence and increase confidence at home.

Cllr Laura Miller, Dorset Council Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care and Health said, “The befrienders who have volunteered to help residents through COVID-19 are brilliant and I can’t thank them enough for all they are doing.

“We are keen to support them, and the people they are helping, to the very best of our abilities.”

Dave Thorp, CEO of Age UK North, South & West Dorset (NSWD) said,  “We have seen the amount of isolated and vulnerable older people rise due to lockdown and shielding. We are currently in contact with hundreds of people every week.

“It is the aim of Age UK NSWD to work in partnership with other agencies to ensure older people can continue to live independently and safely for as long as they are able and want to do so.”

You can still join the army of volunteers who are supporting vulnerable residents at this time. If you have an up-to-date DBS check and would like to offer your support, you can register online.

If you don’t have family, friends or a support network that can help you get the things you need at this time, you can call 01305 221000, 8am to 8pm, seven days a week to get help and advice.

Alternatively, you can email

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