Published on: Thursday 24 Oct 2019 at 08:38
We have partnered with Essex County Council to help tackle social isolation in your local communities…
Here at St Clare, we are showing our support for Essex County Council’s ‘United In Kind’ campaign – an awareness-raising movement to help share vital information and resources around tackling social isolation and loneliness in Essex.
First launched on 23rd September 2019, United In Kind aims to build on the great work that local organisations and community groups are already doing to address the growing issue of loneliness, which in recent years has grown to become one of the nation’s biggest health risks. According to a report published in 2018 by Age UK, the number of over-50s experiencing loneliness is set to reach two million by 2025/6 – a 49% increase in 10 years. To give insight into just how severe this health risk is; it has been reported that loneliness, living alone and poor social connections are as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day (Holt-Lunstad, 2010).
The Council’s United In Kind campaign provides an opportunity for local organisations offering services which address social isolation to promote their events and activities under the umbrella of a wider social movement. It is hoped that this will increase collaborations, amplify messages, and support greater communication between providers to help inspire and connect local people to work together to end loneliness in Essex.
“When we first heard about United In Kind, we knew we had to take the opportunity to get on board,” says Sally Muylders, our Community Engagement Manager at St Clare Hospice. “One of our four strategic aims at St Clare Hospice is to encourage our communities to become more resilient and support each other. This is because we know that when people are facing a life-limiting illness, coming to the end of life or even experiencing bereavement, the chances of social isolation can increase dramatically. In fact, bereavement is one of the leading causes of loneliness in the UK today.
“We’re already doing a lot of great work to address this issue within West Essex. From running the Compassionate Neighbours project through the Hospice, to hosting seven Bereavement Café events in the area – as well as a number of social support services led by our Day Therapy team, such as Café Clare and our Carers’ Group. It’s all about connecting people to each other, and connecting people to their communities so that nobody has to face death or dying alone.
“However, we know that there is more to be done, and we believe that by engaging with a wider campaign in the county, we’ll be able to continue building on this momentum we have. We’re proud to be a part of connecting our communities with kindness!”
The United in Kind team are encouraging citizens and local organisations to ‘do something kind today,’ to help make a difference to how connected local people feel within their community – building on connections with each other to help tackle loneliness and social isolation.
Whether it’s sharing a smile, giving up your seat for someone, picking up the milk for a neighbour – the United in Kind movement aims to strengthen relationships within communities. People can join the initiative in their local community through a range of different volunteering opportunities with St Clare:
1. Become a Compassionate Neighbour
Compassionate Neighbours are volunteers who are matched with members of the community who may be experiencing social isolation and loneliness. Neighbours help others by: visiting regularly; offering companionship; emotional support and a listening ear; helping people to do the things they like doing; helping them stay connected to the community as well as family and friends. Find out more here stclarehospice.org.uk/compassionate-neighbours or contact the Project Manager, Stacey Towler, on 01279 773729 or [email protected]
2. Café Clare volunteer
St Clare’s Café Clare group offers patients the chance to meet others socially, in a relaxed and friendly environment, for coffee and cake. Volunteers help facilitate the group by meeting and greeting, making drinks, and helping people settle in and make connections with peers. Find out more at stclarehospice.org.uk/volunteervacancies or contact Voluntary Services Manager, Rob Wallace, on 01279 773722 or [email protected]
3. Bereavement Café Facilitator
St Clare’s Bereavement Cafés offer a space for local people to come together and share a cup of tea in the company of others who understand. Our Facilitator volunteers help to run the Cafés by: setting up the seating; meeting and greeting attendees at each event; preparing refreshments; support attendees to meet others and introduce them to the group. Find out more about the Bereavement Cafés at stclarehospice.org.uk/bereavement-cafe Learn more about the voluntary role by getting in touch with Sally Muylders on 01279 773709 or [email protected]