Virtual Buddying makes sense to beat loneliness

Lockdown has given us a glimpse of how lonely life can be when the people and places we love get taken away but Sense has created Virtual Buddying, pairing people up for fun, creative remote sessions to help tackle social isolation.

Sense has been matching people with complex disabilities, uncluding deafblindness, with volunteers throughout lockdown. Virtual Buddy volunteers are matched with someone based on shared hobbies and interests, with a focus on growing a friendship with each other. The sessions they share are a great way to meet new people and have fun.

Sense is now on the lookout for new volunteers from Liverpool who may wish to become buddies and take part in sessions.

Buddies might catch up about their week or take part in activities together, such as attending a group dance class over Zoom, watching a film, gardening or baking together. One buddy matche recently baked together. The volunteer said, “We weighed out the baking ingredients together and I was able to help [her] do it over video, it was nice to feel like we were doing it together.”

Liam and Sarah

Liam’s a teenager who loves spending time with people – laughing, smiling, and singing with them whenever there’s an opportunity. He loves Sense Holidays and still talks about the volunteers from his holiday in 2018, especially Sarah, with whom he quickly formed a strong bond.

Unfortunately, Liam’s Sense Holiday this year had to be cancelled, adding to the social isolation he’s experienced since lockdown. He’s been even more isolated than many because members of the household are shielding, and his school has been unable to provide the support he needs in order to attend.

Sense was able to make Sarah Liam’s Virtual Buddy, meaning they could see each other weekly for phone and video calls to chat, sing, and play music together. Talking about the support Liam’s received from Sarah, his Grandad said: “There’s been lots of laughing and giggling going on – he seems to really enjoy himself and is very excited to talk to her.”

If you would like the opportunity to meet new people and could spare around an hour a week to become a Virtual Buddy, contact Sense at buddying@sense.org.uk. Full training will be provided.



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