WaveLength Radios for the over 70s our 1st response to Covid-19

The Covid-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact across the world. In the UK, the past 17 months have been transformational and many people did not fully anticipate the range of impacts that this virus could cause. WaveLength’s services have never been more in demand, helping the lonely and isolated. In March 2020, WaveLength launched a radio distribution scheme for the over 70s who were vulnerable and self-isolating. The purpose of the scheme was to relieve loneliness and isolation during the first lockdown and to help the over-70s feel more connected to the outside world.

Juliet, 70, who benefited from the scheme said: “The radio has helped with my mental health. It has helped through distraction and refocusing, as I am often at crisis point. The radio has been really positive for me, it really has saved me.”

It is a common misconception that every home has a radio. However, within the first few hours of the launch of our scheme, it became evident that this is not the case. The day after the launch, WaveLength had over 90,000 people visit the website and, by day two, we had received over 9,000 applications. This was an overwhelming response which highlighted the need for support. WaveLength’s staff worked tirelessly to support those most in need, prioritising those who did not have a radio or broadband access, and those who were living alone. Over-70s who were caring for others were also placed in the high-need category.

The scheme, which ended in April 2020, showed an outpouring of concern and thoughtfulness from people who were nominating their grandparents, friends and neighbours to receive a vital radio set. WaveLength was able to help over 5,000 people through the Radio Scheme. We know from our work that a radio set brings comfort and is a helpful tool in relieving loneliness.