NO-ONE should ever feel lonely – which is why volunteer organisations in Glasgow are joining together to provide a mental health ‘winter survival guide’ for the elderly, the vulnerable and the isolated.

The Campaign to End Loneliness and Volunteer Glasgow have teamed up to make sure everyone is aware of the services on offer as a difficult year draws to a close.

The groups involved include COPE, Lifelink, Glasgow Helps and the Good Morning Service.

“You can shape someone’s world with good conversation and having the back up of our safety-net alert service gives older people confidence to live as independently as possible.” says Nicky Thomson of Good Morning Service. “Having someone who cares really matters. We’re proud to be a real Glasgow success story.”

The telephone befriending and alert service provides emotional and practical support to older people 365 days a year. Since 2000, it has supported more than 300 people with around 50,000 calls each year.

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It also alerts a nominated contact person or the police to potential health problems whenever a member fails to answer their Good Morning Call and cannot be located.

When Mary Smith, who is 93, had an accident at home she knew help would be on the way.

“When I tripped and fell they knew to phone my daughter,” she said. “She came round and helped me get up onto the chair. Boy, I gave myself a fright! I’ve always felt good knowing they’ll tell my daughter but now I know it works, I know I am looked after.”

Lifelink has been providing mental health and counselling services to the people of Glasgow for more than 28 years.

During the Covid pandemic, the charity has continued to offer free one to one counselling sessions, CBT group therapy and wellbeing classes using a combination of online platforms and a telephone service.

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Any Glasgow resident is eligible to use Lifelink’s services and it is possible to self-refer online or by telephone, or have a referral made on your behalf. Anyone wanting to start off with a lighter touch can join the charity’s online wellbeing classes, which cover a range of topics.

The Glasgow Helps website was set up by Glasgow Council for the Voluntary Sector (GCVS) during the early days of lockdown to help people find the support they need.

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Ian Bruce, Chief Executive of GCVS says: “There is so much happening in Glasgow, with voluntary organisations and charities busier than ever, but sometimes folk struggle to find the help that they are looking for. We hope that Glasgow Helps will go some way to bridging this gap.”

Hilda Campbell, CEO of COPE Scotland, which provides a range of services supporting mental and emotional health for people aged 16 and over, says the charity understands this year’s festive season will be a strange one.

“Our current work includes listening services, one to one sessions, online wellbeing advice and community capacity building, helping to establish peer led groups and services,” she says.

“We are noticing other challenges too this year – worries about work, family, money and access to food; loneliness and anxiety due to Covid, relationship issues and uncertainty about the future.

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“While we usually close over the festive period, this year we’re offering some Zoom wellbeing sessions and self-management tips online, plus a telephone appointment service.”

Hilda added: “People’s resilience and the way communities have come together to help each other has been inspiring. All of our circumstances may be different, but we can get through this by being kind to each other and ourselves.”

She adds: “We need to recognise that at times we all need someone to listen, help and check in to see if we are okay.”


Volunteer Glasgow

Good Morning Service: 0141 336 7766.

Lifelink: 0141 552 4434

COPE: 0141 944 5490

Glasgow Helps: