When the coronavirus pandemic struck, some 8 months ago, and we went into a full lockdown, for many there were deep feelings of shock, distress and trauma, both at the devastating impact of the virus but also the subsequent need to stay away from others. Before covid19 over 5 million older people said that the tv or their pet was their closest form of company- and yet one wonders how these figures have changed for the worse, with so many older people having been told to shield, or voluntarily staying at home to avoid risk of getting the virus.
This is why ‘Faith in Later Life’, along with the Church of England and Pippa Cramer from Holy Trinity Claygate, launched the Daily Hope telephone line at the end of April. This phone initiative is free to call from any UK landline or mobile, and offers hymns, prayers, reflections and a church service, 24 hours a day. And this has proved a lifeline for so many older people who have been housebound. These are some of the stories we have been told about the difference it is making:
“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”.
“I sent out a Daily Hope leaflet to some elderly aunts and one just phoned me crying and crying. It was the first time she’d received anything spiritual since lockdown.”
“What a brilliant idea! Thank you so much! I have already passed it on to many people at church including one of the men who helps to organise a group for older men whose wives have dementia or who have died. Several of these men have no computers, this will be a life-line for them”.
“Thank you so much for the free <Daily Hope> phone number which I’ve dialled this morning and had a wonderfully blessed time singing lots of the old hymns I was brought up on. They were often written out of great trials which didn’t stop them praising and thanking Him for His faithfulness. It was such an encouragement which I can repeat whenever I want to. So thanks once again.’
“I have printed some copies of your article about ‘Daily Hope’ to give to those who do not have internet access. We can use it to reach out to those who have no hope and who wouldn’t normally read articles or books.”
“It’s like a gift I can open when times are tough and I’m struggling”
“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.”
Since its launch, the Daily Hope phone line has received over 300,000 calls, totalling almost 4 million minutes, and Daily Hope has been featured on Songs of Praise as well as in the national press.
As we continue with increased coronavirus restrictions and with an uncertain Christmas approaching, Daily Hope continues, and is a simple, free, and effective way of providing some support and comfort- and hope- to anyone at home, who may want to listen to a prayer or reflection, or just be calmed and comforted listening to some hymns. Who can you call and tell about Daily Hope today?
The ‘Daily Hope’ phone line is 0800 804 8044 and is free to call from landlines or mobiles, for anyone based in the UK.