Across the Hedgerow
Across the Hedgerow service provides older individuals from the rural community with listening support and companionship via regular telephone calls. We aim to reduce isolation and improve the mental and emotional wellbeing of both the client and volunteer.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic our support line seen a marked increase in phone calls, with more and more of them from vulnerable and older members of the rural community who were isolated and afraid. To help these people navigate what is the new normal for the foreseeable future, the ‘Across the Hedgerow’ project, in collaboration with the Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster (YFCU) was launched.
This initiative provides our most vulnerable people with extra human connection on a regular basis, via the phone, to help lift their spirits and bring some happiness. Traditionally older and vulnerable people can be in the hard-to-reach category, so this project has helped Rural Support to identify people most in need, ensuring they are getting the help they need to protect their mental health and wellbeing, as well as connecting them to the right services if they need it. It also provides a small bit of respite and comfort to their loved ones knowing that there will be someone else checking in on them and providing additional care and a listening ear.
Topics of conversation with clients include:
- The weather
- Farming- their current or previous enterprise(s)
- Hobbies – things they love or used to love doing (cars, tractors, cooking, knitting, reading, music, sport)
- The way things were in the olden days
- The client’s family, e.g. grandchildren
- How they are feeling?
- The sorts of things they can do to help themselves
There is a team of Rural Support and YFCU staff and volunteers ready and willing to be matched to clients who can either self-refer to the service or be referred by third parties with the verbal permission of the client. We will co-ordinate the matching of Across the Hedgerow clients to a suitable person and they will make contact as often as the person needs to feel safer and more content.
This service will continue to run beyond the restrictions and COVID-19.
To avail of this service or to refer someone you care about please call our Support Line on 0800 138 1678.
Furthermore, if you would like to become a volunteer for this initiative, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 028 8676 0040