Call companions Joan and Zoe share a love of music. Joan has sung as a tenor for The Big Sing Choir since 2014 and Zoe is a gifted young soprano whose reputation has been celebrated worldwide. Thanks to their weekly chats they've found that they have more than a love of music in common.
Joan and Zoe often talk as Zoe walks home from rehearsals. They chat about how rehearsals are going and as they talk, Zoe describes the landmarks she passes.
“I used to work in London, at Unilever House on the Embankment, and Zoe passes the building on her way home from rehearsals. I can hear the cars hooting in the background and I can imagine where she is.
“At lunch time, I used to walk along the Embankment. Our chats bring back so many memories.
“Zoe and I have got quite a lot in common. I’m fascinated to hear about her singing career and the lyrics she’s learning. Learning the lyrics is always the hardest bit.”
“The pandemic's been difficult as I've had to shield, but my calls with Zoe have lightened the day. Zoe is bright and bubbly and so nice to talk to.
It’s just wonderful that there are people out there who want to give up their time to do speak to an older person.”
Zoe lost her job at the start of the pandemic and her first response was to turn to her friends and family. Filling her days with zoom chats and Facebook messaging, she began imagining what it might be like for an older person who was shut off from the rest of the world.
Zoe says “I realised that I was actually very lucky because I had technology, and therefore my entire community, at my fingertips. It was this that prompted me to get in touch with Re-engage.”
Zoe was matched with Joan at the end of January, and although she felt a little nervous at the start, she found that their weekly conversations just flowed.
“It was like a first date! I wasn’t sure whether I ought to plan our first call in advance, or at least think of topics to talk about. But it felt all so natural.
“Joan has introduced me to singers from the 40s and 50s and she’s told me all about living through World War 2. She’s seen London change and I love hearing about all her experiences.
Being a call companion is such a simple way to make a big difference and I think our weekly calls have helped me as much as it’s helped Joan. I really look forward to them!”
Using technology to reduce loneliness
We're building a system that will allow us to work better with our volunteers and older people.
By Meryl Davies, CEO
The power of a good chat
Recent analysis of our call companions service shows older people are happier, less lonely and more satisfied with their lives after receiving the calls.