Dial-OP & GO is a community project delivered by volunteers and managed by Volunteer Dundee. The project offers holistic support to anyone looking for information, guidance and/or opportunities to become more socially connected and decrease their feelings of loneliness and social isolation.
The project has been providing easy to access information on a range of services and activities available locally through the Dial-OP Information Line since 2014. Community members, workers and professionals can get in touch with Dial-OP Information Line between 9am and 4,30pm, Monday to Friday, to seek help in navigating the myriad of support services and community resources available locally.
Additionally, we can also offer companionship to those less vulnerable or anyone who would benefit from a weekly friendship phone call made by one of our trained Blether Buddie volunteers at a mutually agreed time (Dial-OP Blether Buddies, set up in 2015).
Dial-OP Morning Call emerged in 2017 in response to the anecdotal evidence of the need for a service that provides daily reassurance and connectivity to vulnerable adults in Dundee. For the past two years, our Morning Call service has been offering a daily welfare check to a number of vulnerable or socially isolated people in Dundee. This short phone call helps people feel more connected, safer and valued, and for many this is the only conversation they have all day. At present, we contact 80+ people between 8am and 10am to make sure everyone is well and in good spirits! Reminder service for medical appointment and other commitments is also available on request.
Through the GO Project, our volunteers offer a holding hand to those who wish to attend a social activity but find it difficult to take the first steps. With the GO Project, we are able to provide practical and emotional support on a one-to-one basis to help people engage in groups and activities of their choice. This could be attending a swimming lesson, a walking group, a support group or a one-off welfare-related appointment where a bit of moral support is required. This involves an initial pre-match meeting to help break the ice and then up to 4 meets where the volunteer offers support to our service user and enables them to attend activities by themselves in the long run.
We are very lucky to have 25+ volunteers helping us deliver a good quality service through the different the Dial-OP & GO strands, but are always welcoming new ones, as service demand is high and it progressively increases.
Hilda, 86, lives in Dundee and has been feeling pretty down since her husband passed away 3 years ago. Although her mobility is poor, she is managing to get out and about thanks to her disability car and walking frame. She spends most of her days watching TV and she often gets tired of staring at the same four walls. She wishes to meet other people in a similar situation as hers and have something to look forward to on a weekly basis. Nevertheless, she struggles to find local friendship groups, she doesn’t know who to ask or how to get started either. Hilda has an iPad but she isn’t very confident about navigating the Internet.
How can we help Hilda re-engage with her community? How can we make it easy for her to access the information she needs? Are there sustainable solutions which can help not only Hilda but also other people who find themselves in the same situation?
Are there more innovative and forward-thinking ideas for Dial-OP & GO to develop and support people like Hilda?