Since its launch at the end of April, in response to the coronavirus pandemic and the many older people not being able to access online content, the Daily Hope free telephone line has proved a big success. Launched by the Archbishop of Canterbury, charity Faith in Later Life, and the team from ‘Connections’ at Holy Trinity Claygate, Daily Hope has been over 335,000 calls received, totalling 4 million minutes of call time. Free to call from any UK landline or mobile, this 24/7 telephone line has proved a source of comfort and indeed hope, to thousands of people.
As well as the opportunity to select a variety of options including prayers, reflections and hymns, the Daily Hope telephone line also has special ‘month specific’ features, such as a ‘holiday at home on the phone’, which was an option to join in for callers during August. And a ‘Chair exercises on the phone’ feature has proved so successful it has become one of the regular options when a caller phones in.
Christmas can be a wonderful time for many older people, who spend time with family members that they may only see at this time of year. But for others Christmas can be a painful time, when loss feels all the more pronounced. And yet, whether joyful or struggling with grief or loneliness, we can take comfort in a time of remembering and celebrating the birth of Jesus.
In this difficult time of pandemic, we may not be spending Christmas with our friends or family, and many older people will be remaining at home whether church buildings are open or closed. But the Daily Hope telephone line continues, and has some special Christmas focussed content for callers to enjoy. As well as a warm welcome from the Archbishop of Canterbury, some prayers and reflections and church services to join in by listening, during the Christmas season callers to the Daily Hope line will also be treated to a selection of wonderful Christmas carols on loop, accompanied by thoughts from broadcaster and author Pam Rhodes.
And for those callers who want to enjoy the Christmas message we have ‘Christmas at Home on the Phone’- each day journeying through the Christmas story with a Bible verse, short reflection, a well known carol, and a Christmas prayer. Finally, Daily Hope is also offering the seasonal ‘comfort and joy reflections’ by the Church of England. In the midst of all many are enduring this Christmas, our prayer is that we can pause, reflect and find comfort this Christmas, with all that the Daily Hope line has to offer.
We are so pleased that the Daily Hope line is providing comfort and hope to many. We have received hundreds of letters of thanks from callers, and below are comments from two callers who recently shared their feelings: “It’s marvellous. I ring nearly every day and I often sit for a bit and listen to the prayers and the hymns. I know lots of the hymns, so I can sing along. I sometimes have a little weep. It’s lovely to know that I can feel in touch when I’m alone at home. It does me good”. “There are days when I feel a little fragile and can’t snap out of it myself. It’s so helpful to know it’s there. There is so much variety. It’s just lovely. It really helps.”
Perhaps you can share the Daily Hope phone line with a family member, friend or neighbour- and you may want to call it yourself. Free from any UK landline or mobile, and available 24 hours a day, the Daily Hope telephone service is available on 0800 804 8044.
Carl Knightly is the CEO of Faith in Later Life.