What we've been doing For the past two months, we’ve been travelling up and down the country to visit British Red Cross and Co-op’s Community Connector services, learning about what they’re doing to tackle loneliness (as well as the range of the UK’s earliest train journeys). As part of their partnership to tackle loneliness and social isolation, the British Red Cross and Co-op established dozens of these schemes across the UK.
We were very proud to facilitate the recent meeting of the Loneliness Action Group, a partnership convened and supported by the British Red Cross and the Co-op. We were particularly pleased to hear from some terrific speakers who provided important updates on the vital issues around loneliness.
Ramona Herdman, Head of Tackling Loneliness at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, updated the room on the implementation of the government’s Loneliness Strategy, which seems well under way.
Simon Chapman, Deputy Director of the Personal Care Group for NHS England, gave a fantastic presentation on the improvement and expansion of social prescribing in England that hopes to see the recruitment of 1,000 new social prescribing link workers by 2021 with a further few thousand by 2023. The group was also given the opportunity to feed into the government’s early thinking for its anti-stigma campaign through an interactive work session and, finally, encouraged to adopt the Centre for Wellbeing’s Brief guide to measuring loneliness.
It’s probably a bit strange to see a minor illness as a sign of a successful event. However, as we come to the end of our event series with the British Red Cross and Co-op Partnership on tackling loneliness, I’ve completely lost my voice! And I’m taking that as a good sign, after a few weeks which have brought real focus to the power of conversation and the value of human connection.
How do you know if you're part of a family? Your parents, siblings – that's not too difficult. How about being part of a family of services?
It's a question we've been exploring in our shared learning series with the British Red Cross and Co-op partnership tackling loneliness. As part of our recent event in London we explored whether we can define a 'family' of services that share key features of the Red Cross's Community Connector schemes, and identify common challenges and solutions among these different schemes.
With apologies for the unsubtle metaphor (for which you can blame mother nature!) - we arrived in Bristol, for the first of our shared learning series with the British Red Cross and Co-op partnership on tackling loneliness, in deep fog. We left in glorious sunshine.
The event featured a wide range of organisations that work to tackle loneliness by connecting people back to their communities. Along with upcoming events in London and Glasgow, it aimed to draw upon the learning emerging from the Red Cross's own work to establish almost 40 new 'Community Connector' schemes across the UK, and to share this with other similar schemes working in different areas and with different communities.