New community phone service breaking isolation

NEW phone befriending service reaching out to those isolated in our community has been launched by Fermanagh House. 
Although the building is closed there has been lots of hard work going on behind the scenes to quickly turn around a dedicated phone service ‘Connect Fermanagh’. 
Spearheaded by Fermanagh Trust Director Lauri McCusker and his team the call line aims to provide a local response to need.
Speaking about the new service Mr McCusker said, “I have a great team of colleagues who look after Fermanagh House and we were very conscious when we were closing the building that for some people this was more than a building, it’s a place where some come on a regular basis. 
“We questioned what we could do with resources when we are not operating the building. We’ve helped some groups with bits and pieces to get up and running but thought there was something else we could do, then the idea came for the helpline to allow people to have a chat if they were feeling lonely or isolated. It launched on Wednesday last and our very first call was from a lady who hadn’t spoken to anybody in three weeks.” 
Mr McCusker explained, “There has been a few calls since that too that have just made us sit back and just go ‘wow’. People have been terrific as well, we’ve had to put volunteers on a waiting list. There’s so many at home with skills and abilities and they want to be able to do something.” 
While locals have been quick to praise the concept Mr McCusker states that the challenge now is getting the message out there, he notes that’s quite the challenge when some people aren’t leaving home. 
“Imagine how difficult that is for those who are so used to company, be that through family or even going to the shop. We’re delighted to get this service up and running. What is key now is getting referrals in, be that through family members or self referring.”
Sonya Johnston is coodinating ‘Connect Fermanagh’ which is open from 9.30am-2pm daily by calling 02866320230.

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