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ComLink announces Tele-Friends program for isolated older people


ComLink announces Tele-Friends program for isolated older people

ComLink today announced a new companionship program for isolated clients as a key part of its response to the global pandemic.

The Tele-Friends program will deliver phone and live video contact for clients who are self-isolating and are experiencing loneliness.

“We’ve been working hard behind the scenes to develop a program so we can stay in touch with people and maintain important support and connection at an unprecedented time in our history,” ComLink CEO Feda Adra says.

Ms Adra says her team knows only too well from medical research and data that isolation can have a major impact on older Australians and vulnerable and lonely people.

“We’re honoured to partner with a dedicated band of volunteers and students from the University of the Sunshine Coast to deliver this crucial contact, much needed company and chat with our valued clients,” she says.

“The Tele-Friends will see clients called weekly for up to an hour for a chat via video call or regular phone call and provide a much-needed voice and support for older Australians.”

USC Australia Senior Lecturer in Counselling, Dr Mark Pearson, says the university is a proud partner in the program, and through the USC Australia Counselling & Wellbeing Clinic’s online services hopes to make a valuable contribution.

“We are very happy to be contributing to the development of this program through gathering research evidence on supporting emotional wellbeing,” Dr Pearson says.

“Our final year counselling students are ready, willing and very able to reduce a sense of isolation through resilience-building connections”.

Volunteer Jenny Humphrey says being part of Tele-Friends is a great way to support people during the global pandemic.

“During this ever-changing time in our lives, the one thing I believe we all need is love and connection. I wanted to get involved in the Tele-Friends program so I can connect with older people experiencing loneliness and let them know we care about them.”

For more information on volunteering for Tele-Friends, please contact program coordinator Kimberley Ellis on 5390 1218.

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