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15 May 2020

Glass Door is launching a new befriending scheme this week to combat loneliness among former shelter guests who are now in hotels. 

The scheme, which is still in the pilot stage, matches experienced Glass Door volunteers with individuals who Glass Door has supported to self-isolate. Volunteers will call the guest once a week for a catch-up over the phone.   

Combating loneliness 

Service development manager Megan Preston says the primary aim of the scheme is to combat loneliness: 

Supporting shelter guests to move into hotels for safety was our first priority. However, we quickly realised that many of our former shelter guests were feeling lonely and weren’t getting the social connection that all of us need. 

“Staff and caseworkers check in regularly with guests but they don’t usually have time for a general chit-chat.  

Megan reached out to loyal volunteers because they provide that vital human connection in our shelters each season. After speaking with volunteers, one of our shelter guests last year said: 

I don’t feel alone anymore”. 

Megan adds: 

“We are quite overwhelmed by the number of volunteers wanting to get involved in this new initiative. Volunteers have always been central to Glass Door so we are so pleased to have been able to develop a new way for them to support those in need during this crisisThey genuinely are at the heart of what we do." 

Making the world of difference 

Operations manager Matthew Falk who is coordinating the project says: 

We have started on a small scale. But the project could make the world of difference to guests and volunteers alike. 

“There are so many benefits. It is obviously good for our mental health to have regular conversations with other people. It also helps individuals who want to practise their English and could prepare guests better for more long-term move-on options.  

“We are also trying to connect guests with volunteers who speak their native language when requested as those who don’t speak fluent English can feel even more isolated during this time. 

One volunteer who is about to start the project adds: 

One of the most rewarding aspects of volunteering in Glass Door shelters is chatting to the guests – so this is a great extension of that. I look forward to helping support those who need it most through this difficult time. 

We are no longer recruiting volunteer befrienders but if you want to hear about the latest volunteer opportunities with Glass Door: 

Sign up to hear about future volunteering opportunities

To support someone experiencing homelessness right now:

Please support Glass Door's COVID-19 Emergency Appeal