Carl Frampton backs initiative helping older people cope with isolation and loneliness
WHEN a 75-year-old east Belfast man answered his phone recently, he got the surprise of his life when former boxing world champion Carl Frampton was on the other end of the line.
Frampton made the call as part of an Age NI initiative aimed at helping older people cope with isolation and loneliness, particularly amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Launched last year, the 'Check In and Chat' service provides a weekly phone conversation with a friendly volunteer with more than 20,000 calls made so far.
A team of Ulster Bank staff volunteer for the service, which Frampton said had "helped a lot of people during the pandemic and can play a really important role into the longer-term".
"I would encourage people to get behind it," he said
"It was great to talk with Jim. He thought he was getting a call from Age NI's chief executive to talk with him about Check In and Chat, so I think he was a bit surprised when he realised who was on the other end of the line.
"We talked about football, fishing and some people it turned out we both knew.
"Jim was a real gent and I’m really glad he enjoyed the conversation."
Linda Robinson from Age NI said the service provided a "lifeline to individuals, many of whom are without family or friends".
Joanne Wilson from Ulster Bank said: "Our team have been really enthusiastically engaged in the initiative and we were delighted to bring Carl to the building on Thursday to help them and to communicate our support".
For information, call Age NI on 0808 808 7575 or email firstname.lastname@example.org