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Explore Together: new telephone support service launches

Suffolk Libraries is launching a new telephone support and signposting service.

The Explore Together service will match volunteers with people who are feeling lonely or isolated or are looking for some guidance finding support or a new activity.

The volunteers will make regular phonecalls and listen and help people find local organisations, groups and activities. The service is free and available to anyone in Suffolk. Explore Together is based on the previous Phone a Friend service which Suffolk Libraries launched during lockdown which made over 12,000 phonecalls to older and isolated people to help them maintain regular contact with someone.

Explore Together aims to take the best elements of this service and give it a new purpose so it can have a bigger impact on people’s lives with the aim of helping someone to feel less isolated and more engaged in their local community.

The service would be ideal for someone who may have recently moved to the area and is looking for things to do or wondering who can help.

Jane Cox, Suffolk Libraries Community Mental Health and Wellbeing Manager, said:

“We’re delighted to launch this new service and hope Explore Together can make a big difference to people who may feel a bit lost or lonely and need some support or advice in how to find things to do. Many people can feel isolated, particularly in rural areas. Someone may have moved to the area and needs a little help making local links, or maybe someone has recently found themselves on their own and might need a little encouragement to reach out.

“Our volunteers can find information from local resources like Suffolk Infolink and the activities run by Suffolk Libraries and other organisations. For some people searching for information online like this is confusing and we hope that personal touch and getting to know someone a little can help them to find what they need.”

People can refer themselves or someone they know by emailing or by visiting our website.

where they can fill in a simple self-referral form, or someone can make a referral for them. A volunteer will then be in touch for a chat.

During the initial conversation the volunteer will aim to find out a bit about the person, their interests and what they like to do. The aim is for the person to feel less lonely and happier after six months with the ultimate success of the service being they no longer need the regular calls.

Suffolk Libraries is also appealing for more volunteers who would be interested in making Explore Together phone calls. Anyone interested can email and download a volunteer guide from the Suffolk Libraries website.