Alertacall has announced Silver Stories, an organisation that links children and older people in the community through reading, as its new charity partner.
Silver Stories was created in 2015 by husband-and-wife team David Carney-Haworth OBE and Elisabeth Carney-Haworth OBE to help address the loneliness that can be felt by older people and often their separation from the younger generation.
The concept sees children (known as Silver Readers) telephone an older person (a Silver Listener) and then read a short story or poem to them.
The initiative helps children gain in confidence as readers and can be used by schools as part of a literacy programme.
Silver Stories says the regular calls also help older people to stay connected to younger members of the community and reduces their chances of feeling isolated.
Alertacall will be working with the charity to promote awareness amongst social housing providers, schools, and other organisations to identify listeners and readers to join the project.
Work will include helping the charity to develop the necessary software to make the matching process easier and funding a ‘Silver Stories coordinator’ to build and develop community links.
Alertacall has already been working with Oxfordshire-based social housing provider Soha Housing to help residents enrol on the scheme. So far, 100 residents have become Silver Listeners.
Jayne Sharp, Independent Living team manager at Soha, said: “Silver Stories has been such a good news story during these difficult times.
“Our residents are telling their friends and neighbours, and more and more are wanting to take part.
“The feedback has been so positive, and we know that our Silver Listeners feel more connected and useful because of the genuine friendships they develop with their Silver Reader and the wider family.
“These weekly phone calls have helped to reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation, and the Readers benefit too because they have the opportunity to practice their reading and gain confidence.”
Martin Cutbill, director of Alertacall, commented: “We are delighted to be working with Silver Stories and helping them to reach out to communities through our social housing network.
“Alertacall’s services all place an importance on maintaining regular contact with older people, and we are well aware of how phone calls can significantly help to reduce feelings of loneliness, isolation, and anxiety.
“In this way, Silver Stories is a natural partnership for us and a fantastic charity, which helps to bridge the gap between the generations but also will inspire young people to read and have the confidence to speak publicly.”
Elisabeth Carney-Haworth OBE added: “This is such a wonderful project, and I have been fortunate enough to have many wonderful conversations with Silver Listeners, Silver Readers, and their parents.
“The utter joy that emanates through these chats is overwhelming and long-term friendships have been formed – all because of a simple phone call once a week and the sharing of a story.
“We are thrilled that Alertacall have chosen Silver Stories as one of their charity partnerships, and we look forward to a long and very positive relationship.
“It really is the perfect pairing.”
Are you a social housing professional? Sign up for a FREE MEMBERSHIP to upload news stories, post job vacancies, and connect with colleagues on our secure social feed.