The Covid-19 lockdown means people are physically isolated at a level never seen before in New Zealand.
St John wants to let people know that it is well positioned to help reduce any feelings of loneliness and isolation at home with its free Caring Caller service, connecting people who need a friend with people who have time to listen and chat on the phone.
The goal of the COVID-19 lockdown is to limit the spread of the virus but not to limit
your community connection. While we may not be able to visit each other and meet face to face, we need to be able to support each other and stay in touch, says St John director of Community Health Services Sarah Manley.
She says St John has moved to extend the free Caring Caller service to provide support to people who might be feeling a bit lonely during lockdown, or just need to check in with someone.
"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."
Sarah says St John volunteers in these programmes are highly skilled in connecting with
others and offering support and empathy, skills that transfer easily into the Caring Caller
"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 a
phone friendship service.
Sarah says St John also wants people who would like to receive Calling Caller phone calls,
either for themselves or their loved ones, to register with St John.
"New Zealand finds itself in an unprecedented situation and St John will continue to
provide communities with the support they need during this time."
If you would like to register for you or someone you know to receive a regular call,
Visit St John Caring Caller or phone 0800 000 606.