A WELLBEING telephone project that provides lockdown reassurance for older residents is set to be continued by a housing association.

The telephone service provided additional support to the elderly residents in Didcot-based Soha Housing throughout the pandemic and the scheme will continue to offer extra assurance.

Alertacall, which already provides Housing Proactive the housing management service to Soha, called over 750 residents across Oxfordshire at the start of lockdown.

Alertacall was offering daily or weekly calls to help alleviate some of the isolation brought on by the sudden lockdown and social restrictions that came with it.

The wellbeing telephone project was instigated by Soha’s outstanding-accredited independent living team. Not only were the core independent living team staff working remotely and unable to visit residents, but some were themselves isolating.

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Jayne Sharp, independent living team manager at Soha said: “We wanted to offer an extra reassurance to our residents which we could put in place quickly and which would allow us to target our support where it was most needed. Extending our relationship with Alertacall was the obvious solution."

Over 70 residents now regularly receive additional calls from Alertacall and the service is being paid for entirely by Soha.

Ms Sharp added: “Feedback from residents has been overwhelmingly positive: even those not opting for the call service appreciated the offer. If you’re fit and usually socially active but have no family to ring for a regular chat, the limitations of your own four walls become very apparent. Alertacall having time for a good long natter meant the whole situation became more bearable. A late afternoon or early evening call makes the long summer evening stretching ahead of you more palatable.”

Soha has been using Housing Proactive for three years.

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Residents press a button on a special telephone once a day or more to pick up news and information. If the button is not pressed before an agreed time, the resident is called by the Housing Proactive team. The phone also has one-touch connection to the Soha call centre to order repairs or address any other housing-related concerns.

Benjamin Lambert, head of client relations at Alertacall, said: “Over the last three years, Alertacall has built up a fantastic partnership with Soha. When their housing team contacted us to see if we could make reassurance calls to help promote resident wellbeing during the lockdown, we knew we were well placed to offer the staffing resource required to make this happen."