Breaking the silence

For older people living in isolation, the days can be long, lonely and repetitive. Mobility issues, decreased confidence and a lack of enthusiasm mean many people won't leave the house or their close surroundings for days. This is where our call companions make a real difference by phoning an older person on a regular basis, to check in, connect and chat for a while.

95-year-old Thelma is matched with call companion Helen, who's 47. Thelma said: “I can’t go out unless someone takes me. I have a heart condition and although I’m mobile around the home I can’t walk too far.

“I really look forward to the calls from Helen. I’m always pleased to hear from her. We tend to talk about her life because I don’t really do much apart from reading and maybe an hour’s gardening and watching TV. My days are mostly the same."

Thelma's granddaughter, who's also called Helen and is a hospital sister, visits when she can. Otherwise Thelma doesn’t see anybody. She married her husband Reginald in 1950, but he died in 2009 shortly before their 60th anniversary. And their only daughter died of cancer when she was just 33.

Thelma explained: “On Christmas Day I might be on my own because [my grandaughter] Helen has no family so she tends to work at Christmas to give those with children a chance to be at home with them.

“I do feel lonely sometimes but you get used to it. You can’t do much about it can you so you just have to get on with it.” 

Thelma's call companion Helen is married and works as a PA to the managing director of an industrial vacuuming company. As well as volunteering with Re-engage, Helen supports a food bank and collects donations for a Ukraine appeal.

Helen explained: “The calls are fine, I’m glad I’m helping. Thelma wants to know about my family but she doesn’t have much news to impart because she doesn’t see anyone apart from a granddaughter and she doesn’t go out, so she doesn’t have an ‘every day’ life like most of us."

Helen added: “I’m busy but I can find an hour or two to volunteer as I believe most people can.”

Contact us

We have teams across the UK.


7 Bell Yard


0800 716543

Office phone:

020 7240 0630