Phone friend is a lifeline for Fishponds care home resident

September 01 2020
Phone friend is a lifeline for Fishponds care home resident

A RESIDENT of a Fishponds sheltered housing scheme has met up with the friend he made over the phone as part of a scheme to fight loneliness.

Mike Rowsell, who is 71, lives at St John’s Court sheltered housing scheme, off Lodge Causeway.

As lockdown was introduced the charity which manages St John’s Court, Brunelcare, set up an initiative called Friends on the Phone, matching its tenants and residents with volunteers for a weekly phone call to give them some company.

Mike was matched up with volunteer Nicki Townsend, and from their first call in April they immediately hit it off, becoming good friends.

They have weekly Zoom video meetings, text and catch up on the phone, and in July they met for the first time.

Mike said the Friends on the Phone initiative had changed his life.

He said: "I met Nicky for the first time last month and she’s just lovely!

"She calls me weekly and I enjoy our regular chats. We hit it off from day one, and have a similar sense of humour.

"The scheme has helped me tremendously during lockdown and I’m glad I’ve been able to meet such a lovely friend.”

Nicki, 55, said: “I signed up to Brunelcare’s Friends on the Phone initiative in April and was lucky enough to be partnered with Mike, a person I now call a true friend. Mike’s just a wonderful person and we have so much in common! We speak weekly about everything and anything and both love to play the ukulele.”

Brunelcare volunteering coordinator Liz Ehlers said: “It was a pleasure partnering Nicki and Mike together for Brunelcare’s Friends on the Phone initiative.

"They get along so well and it is lovely to hear about their growing friendship.

"This is exactly why we started Friends on the Phone, to make a positive difference to people, and it is proving a huge benefit to everyone engaged in this service.”