Telephone service that will allow people isolated to talk to groups in a conference type call.

News 100 blueBy Staff

April 16th,2020


Burlington Recreational Services team is piloting TelePALS – Telephone Partners in Accessing Leisure Services.

senior on the phone

Connecting those that are isolated 15 people at a time.

It is a service that allows people who may not know each other to connect and communicate by telephone. The Seniors’ Centre Without Walls (SCWW) is as simple as just picking up your telephone!

Through the use of multi-person phone calls, SCWW provides the opportunity for participants to join in on health and wellness seminars, educational lectures, brain-stimulating activities, listen to live musical entertainment, join in on general conversations, and make new and meaningful friendships – all from the comfort of home! It works just the same as attending a class or a lecture at the centre, but instead it is facilitated over the telephone.

Seniors’ Centre Without Walls Basics:

Completely free program.
You do not need to be a member of any association.
Programs are multi-person phone conversations (or conference calls).
No special equipment needed – just your average phone!
Call yourself in to the program, or we can call you – it’s your choice!
Each phone session lasts between 30-60 minutes on the phone.
Each phone session averages 10-15 people on the call.
You are able to hear each other, talk to one another, learn, and/or just have fun!

The first phase of the pilot involves people referred to Parks and Recreation; phase two will have broader participation.

Since the closure of City programs the team doing the pilot has conducted a Caring Calls program reaching over 2500 participants. They heard that many of our community valued these calls very much and the point of connection they provided.

“Many also indicated a desire to be contacted again. Because we became aware of so many people experiencing a sense of isolation, we thought we would start TelePALS with these folks first, and then increase the service by promoting it more broadly to the City in coming weeks.

“At this time if you know of friends, families, clients or other individuals that are not on-line, or not comfortable with computers but would like to hear more about Telephone Recreation programs via TelePALS, could you contact Mandy Newnham ( for  more information.”

The first priority would be to reach older adults or individuals who may be more home-bound due to a disability; they expect to expand very quickly to enroll any older adults interested in the programs.

The city has yet to go public with this program – we stumbled across what they were working on. We will do our best to keep you posted – the Parks and Recreation are not known for their ability to communicate all that well.

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1 comment to Telephone service that will allow people isolated to talk to groups in a conference type call.

  • Jim Young

    A word to the wise. This program was initially introduced by Burlington Seniors Community Inc. a few years back and run by their volunteers. In the midst of a Covid 19 lockdown which impacts seniors more than anyone, Penny Hersh of BSC. Inc suggested the idea to City Parks and Rec Services.
    Since no-one at City Hall seems to have given credit to BSC inc or Penny for the idea. Let me be the first to acknowledge the fact and thank them. We Are All In This Together.