How do you do? - A pilot programme during a COVID-19 pandemic


          Réka Nagy


The Festival Volunteer Centre (FVC) created its "How do you do?" programme in response to the 2020 coronavirus outbreak, in which volunteers acted via phone as "surrogate grandchildren" to keep in touch with elderly people - "surrogate grandparents" - whose social contacts had been reduced due to lockdown. The volunteers came from young people aged 16-23 participating in FVC programmes, on the one hand, and from 24-35-year olds, on the other, who specifically wanted to participate in the "How do you do?" initiative. The target group, the "surrogate grandparents", was organised by the - partner organisation - the Hungarian Charity Service of the Order of Malta among senior citizens who were open to social contacts by phone. After a month and a half of preparatory work, the "How do you do?" programme was launched in May 2020 and lasted until the end of July. This period included the recruitment of both volunteers and senior citizens, the preparation of the "surrogate grandchildren" for the phone conversations, the gathering of ongoing feedbacks and the closure of the programme. In the "How do you do?" initiative a total of 98 volunteers helped 110 elderly people to relieve the feelings of isolation caused by the pandemic.

Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic, online volunteering, training program for volunteers, Festival Volunteer Centre,