On Thursday 25th October Living Options Devon (LOD) launched the Time To Talk project, which aims to tackle one of the most prominent issues faced by countless people with disabilities throughout the country: that of isolation and loneliness.  The project was launched with a key note speech from Professor Virginia Pearson, Chief Officer for Communities, Public Health, Environment and Prosperity at Devon County Council.

Those of us who are unfamiliar with the lives of people with disabilities and Deaf people may not understand the daily problems they often face. We may not realise that small things which we take for granted, such as going out to meet friends or taking part in activities, might prove to be very challenging for a wide range of reasons. These challenges have, in many instances, led to an epidemic of isolation and loneliness amongst the UK’s disabled and Deaf communities.

That is why Time To Talk is tackling the problem head on in Devon, Plymouth and Torbay, providing a variety of new services – funded by the National Lottery’s Big Lottery Fund – including a confidential telephone support line (with webcam options available for Deaf people who use British Sign Language (BSL)), local ‘Chat & Share’ groups, disability-tailored life coaching, information and advice sessions and, uniquely, counselling for Deaf people provided in BSL.

Time To Talk have put user-lead experience at the heart of their services. They are recruiting disabled volunteers to man their phone lines (and Deaf volunteers for the webcam service), so that those who call in can speak to people who truly understand and can likely empathise with their situation. Whether service-users need to be signposted to the services best suited to them from across Devon, Torbay and Plymouth, or just need someone to talk to, Time To Talk volunteers are fully trained to deal with any and all needs.

Diana Crump, CEO of Living Options Devon, said: “Loneliness and social isolation is one of the keys issues to be addressed across Devon due to the combination of an older population coupled with a rurality.  This innovative project uses Peer Support to empower disabled people and Deaf, British Sign Language users to work through the solutions that work best for that person”.

Time to Talk can be contacted via telephone on 0300 303 3691, by text on 07300 011215, or by email:time2talk@livingoptions.org.  For more information about Time to Talk you can visit their website:https://livingoptions.org/support-help/time-talk

About Time to Talk

To find out more about Time to Talk, visit www.livingoptions.org/support-help/Time-Talk.  You can also email the team at time2talk@livingoptions.org or call 01392 459222. You can also text us on 07300 011 215. Follow us on: Facebook, Twitter, and view our information about Time to Talk in British Sign Language and subtitled on YouTube.

Time to Talk is looking for disabled people and British Sign Language users to get involved with the project. For more information about volunteering opportunities, visit the website or get in touch with the team.

Living Options Devon is a registered charity (number 1102489) working across the South West to ensure that people with disabilities and Deaf people who use British Sign Language (BSL) can live the lives they choose. To find out more, visit www.livingoptions.org