Talking Bubble – Phone Befriending Service

Talking Bubble is a UK-wide project which aims to provide over-the-phone befriending service to individuals who need social support.

Dialogue Society, in partnership with Time to Help UK, has started a befriending campaign to connect and bring people together to tackle loneliness. With our project, “Talking Bubble”, we create a phone-befriending service that matches people most at risk of loneliness with bilingual volunteers to get in touch with one another, get to know, check in on each other, and most importantly create friendships that will make life better.

Click the link to be a part of this project: https://www.talkingbubble.org.

Why Loneliness?

As the Dialogue Society, we understand loneliness is a significantly growing issue that needs to be tackled within our society. While moving to another country, not knowing the language as a first language, old age, social anxiety, living alone, and many more other factors contribute to this issue; the current climate regarding the coronavirus pandemic made everyone feel increasingly isolated with lockdowns, losing loved ones, not feeling safe and not feeling supported by the government or the society. Therefore, our project, Talking Bubble, is a phone befriending campaign to connect and bring people together to tackle loneliness.

How do we do?

With Talking Bubble, we created a phone-befriending service that matches people most at risk of loneliness with bilingual volunteers to contact one another, get to know, check in on each other and most importantly, create friendships that will make life better. We have more than a hundred dedicated and hardworking volunteers who signed up for this project to try to make their communities a better and safe place for everyone. Most of these volunteers are bilingual with English and a mother-tongue such as Albanian, Arabic, Greek, Kurdish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Turkish, and many more languages. We offer the service in 20 languages currently. Once a volunteer signs up to the project, they go through a thorough DBS check and a Level 2 Safeguarding Adults Training. 

Once both these processes are done, we match our volunteers with people who speak the same language and who share similar interests as them. The matched volunteer and the beneficiary have scheduled phone calls throughout the program. We launched the project initially for 12 months, but we believe the project will touch upon many lives and will make the change of a lifetime. We have reached over 300 organisations, charities and social prescribing services across England and Wales.

Our project is continuously growing by number and success each day. We have a dedicated team working on the project, and we already have over 50 people receiving weekly one-hour session in 20 languages delivered. We try to meet with our volunteers monthly to deliver further trainings and share good practice. 

Additionally, we organise volunteer workshops to recruit more volunteers for the project. We visit universities, other charities, and volunteering organisations to grow our volunteer base for this project. The project has been receiving tremendous positive feedback. We are aware that we are helping to tackle a major issue today and we have been doing an amazing job so far thanks to our volunteers. We wish to grow and spread positivity via this project!

Aims and Objectives

  • Supporting people most at risk of loneliness 
  • Effective services to address and tackle loneliness 
  • Building bridges and dialogue amongst communities 
  • Inspiring people to connect with others 
  • End chronic loneliness by establishing a friendship 
  • Creating social connections and maintaining wellbeing 
  • Boosting morale and spirit 

Partners

  • Time to Help UK  
  • LSE Volunteers Centre  
  • King’s College Careers

How to get involved? 

To volunteer: https://www.talkingbubble.org/become-a-volunteer/ 

To apply: https://www.talkingbubble.org/apply/ 

Testimonials  

“It’s fantastic- we are getting on very well. I am loving the service and having someone to talk to every week.” 

“The befriender helps me look at the bright side of things when I’m having a bad day.” 

From Staff: 

“I was given the chance to work as a part of the Talking Bubble project, a phone befriending service for the in-need which has more than a hundred volunteers and a hundred beneficiaries. Working on this project filled me with joy, helping others and managing such large project.” 

Project impact

According to the 2018 research report of ONS, 45% of adults feel occasionally, sometimes, or often lonely in England. This equates to twenty-five million people. Loneliness is associated with an increased risk of developing mental and physical health problems. The phone befriending service will eliminate the loneliness’ impact on mental and physical health. Through the Talking Bubble project, our beneficiaries stay motivated and active, which will lead them to a healthier and happier lifestyle. It improves the life quality of our beneficiaries as well as helping them feel more supported. We want to create strong social networks and, most importantly, build friendships. Our beneficiaries get out of their comfort zone and enjoy life without the stress or the hesitation that loneliness brings to their lives. Staying active and motivated increase their engagement in social activity.  

Furthermore, staying in touch with one another helps these individuals feel connected to society, their community and let them have a sense of belonging. These past years, our united struggle against the coronavirus – regardless of religion, race, lifestyle that shook us all – indicated that loneliness significantly increased, according to insights of our frontline professionals. We know ‘just checking in’ can make all the difference in the world for someone who has been out of touch or has been feeling lonely. We believe the befriending project creates life-changing connections and make sure no one we meet is feeling lonely and will hopefully eliminate the impact of mental health problems.  

To measure the impact, we contact the service users each month asking for their feedback and comments. Additionally, we contact their referral agencies (NHS champions, social prescribers, GP’s, councils, etc.) when additional feedback is needed.  

We are always in contact with our volunteers via phone calls, monthly and weekly mailshots, newsletters, and feedback forms. 

Policies 

Privacy and Communications Policy

Terms and Conditions

Equality & Diversity and Inclusion Policy

Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults Policy

Project Contact 

We are here to provide additional support when you have any queries. Please reach us at talkingbubble@dialoguesociety.org.  

Phone (and WhatsApp): +44 (0) 7878666889  

We suggest contacting us via WhatsApp for any urgent queries related to issues with your befrienders and for sending your DBS application documents.