Charity’s figures highlight frontline role during Sheffield’s pandemic fight

10th December 2020

A Sheffield charity says it has sent its 900th piece of ‘happy post’, as it catalogues the thousands of interactions it’s made to keep older people safe during a pandemic plagued 12 months.

The pen pal letters are on top of almost 950 pieces of equipment fitted, 140 bits of furniture moved and 182 key safes installed- themselves part of 1626 referrals Sheffield Churches Council for Community Care (SCCCC) has completed since January. 

The charity says it’s also recruited and trained 55 new volunteers to cope with a surging demand for its support- including helping more than 180 people return home after a spell in hospital. 

Mark Storey, CEO at SCCCC, said: “This has been a year like no other, but these figures tell the story of how our brilliant volunteers and small team of staff have stepped up in a big way to deliver a vital service to more than 200 isolated, older people in our communities. 

“Like so many good causes, we’ve had to adapt our work to a world remade and our face-to-face interactions have understandably been limited. But whether it’s fitting equipment to make life that bit easier, writing a letter to someone who’s lonely or helping someone to leave hospital safely, I couldn’t be prouder of the impact we’ve made in an otherwise difficult year.” 

Key services the charity provides include help for older people being discharged from hospital, and its renowned ‘Good Neighbour Scheme’ which seeks to tackle loneliness in people over 65 years old. 

During the Covid-19 pandemic SCCCC has also set up a popular Penpal scheme, and introduced a new Inclusive Community Care project, which aims to reduce loneliness and isolation in the city’s older ethnic minority groups. 

The charity is also in the midst of its Reverse Advent Calendar campaign, which asks people to collect non-perishable food items and toiletries for hampers which will support vulnerable older people throughout winter.  

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