This Christmas, charity the Railway Benefit Fund (RBF) are supporting retired railway workers with a befriending telephone call over the Christmas period to alleviate loneliness.

RBF’s research with railway pensioners has highlighted that retirement can often be isolating, especially with many community and railway groups closing following the pandemic. Christmas is a time of year where isolation can feel particularly pertinent. Statistics from Age UK show that almost 1.7 million older people feel more lonely at Christmas than any other time of year.

To support those who may be struggling with loneliness in retirement, RBF launched their ‘Check in and Chat’ service earlier this year, offering retired railway employees a weekly chat with a volunteer to alleviate potential loneliness and aid wellbeing. Since its launch, over 50 hours of telephone friendship calls have already been made to several retired people, who were identified as missing out on regular conversations.

 

Bill, a retired railway worker, has been having weekly calls with a volunteer for 3 months. He said:

“I’m finding it really helpful. I sometimes go a long time without anyone to talk to and it’s very hard. I’m 94 and meeting new people is difficult, so check in and chat in my own home with a lovely volunteer to talk to is fantastic. I still manage to get to town to run my errands, although at my age I don’t run! But the casual conversations I have with shop keepers are nothing like the calls, which are much more personal and involved.”

The charity is calling on the railway industry to support this scheme and ensure that retired railway workers will receive an extra phone call over the Christmas period. By purchasing a £15 telephone call voucher from RBF’s online shop, individuals and organisations can help to fund this scheme. The voucher will cover the cost of recruiting and training a befriending volunteer, and a one-hour phone call to a retired rail employee.

 

Jo Kaye, CEO, said “RBF are here for railway people at every stage of their career, including retirement, and it is our aim as a charity to ensure that our retired community feel supported and looked after. Donating towards our Check in and Chat service means that we can be there for the most vulnerable in society over the Christmas period.”

 

Purchase a telephone call voucher here: https://www.charitycardshop.com/RBF/product/60

To purchase multiple vouchers, please email fundraising@railwaybenefitfund.org.uk