Stay connected to combat loneliness
“Being part of this group does you good. It gets you out of yourself and it’s better than going to the doctors.” Edith Brown, Mansfield.
People who are affected by loneliness, bereavement or a lack of confidence are being encouraged to get connected to their local communities in a new campaign being launched during Safeguarding Adults Week (18 – 22 November).
Partner agencies across the county are working together to highlight a range of groups and support to get people out, as well as services to help stay safe and independent. It can be daunting for someone to just turn up to a new group by themselves, but support is available to make this easier through schemes such as ‘Community Friendly Nottinghamshire’, ‘Connect’ or befriending services. Find out more at www.nottshelpyourself.org.uk/connected
The web page also includes top tips for people who want to do their bit to reduce loneliness in their community, such as having a chat with older neighbours, offering a lift or joining a befriending scheme.
Nottinghamshire Safeguarding Adults Board will also be running a series of events during the week including an event for unpaid carers in the county (9.30am – 12.30pm on Friday 22 November at Richard Herrod Centre, Carlton). Other events will be targeted at front-line staff and will focus on early interventions and prevention. This includes a session delivered by safeguarding leads at Nottingham Forest and Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club about the work they do around safeguarding in sport.
Paul Johnson, Service Director at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “Loneliness can really affect someone’s health and wellbeing. We want people to feel they can get connected to their local communities and take part in groups and activities. By doing this, they are more likely to improve their health and wellbeing and less likely to become victims of scams or other abuse.
“We also need others to do what they can for their neighbours or family who may be alone or struggling. Have a conversation and a cuppa, find out if you can help and let them know about the support available if they would like to take the next step. Your involvement could make a huge difference.”
Allan Breeton, Independent Chair of the Nottinghamshire Safeguarding Adults Board, said: “Research suggests that taking an early intervention approach to issues such as social isolation can help prevent instances of abuse or neglect further down the line. We hope that this week of activity will help more front-line staff and members of the public identify the early signs of loneliness and know what support and services are available to help tackle it.”
Visit Notts Help Yourself for services and support to combat loneliness, tips for supporting someone and safety information.
Anyone experiencing abuse or neglect can report this in confidence:
For more information visit Nottinghamshire Safeguarding Adults Board
A Mansfield lady has praised a scheme that has helped her to meet other people and get her confidence back following the devastating loss of her husband.
Edith Brown, from Mansfield, lost her husband of 48 years in 2017 and felt completely lost without him. She stopped going out, stopped driving, lost four stone in weight and became reclusive.
She eventually began to attend a group called ‘Free to Be’ at the Ladybrook Community Centre but wanted to get out more to meet new people and help others in the same situation as herself. The County Council’s ‘Community Friendly Nottinghamshire’ scheme worked with Edith to find out what she wanted and then supported her to start using an empty unit in the Four Seasons Shopping Centre as a community space. Edith started a Friendship Group which was originally intended to meet monthly, but it proved so popular it quickly became a weekly event. Almost 18 months later, 10 to 12 people regularly attend as well as guests and friends of friends.
Edith said: “I feel more confident, outgoing and generally happier. I’m driving again and go all over the place. In fact, I’ve got my life back!”
Today, Edith is a healthy weight and a lot more active, loving her garden which had become very overgrown. Before starting the group, Edith had never been abroad but is now a lot more adventurous and having enjoyed a recent holiday in Tenerife is now booking others. She said her family has seen a real change in her and are pleased that she is no longer going to see her doctor with depression. She even has a new partner.
“Being part of this group does you good. It gets you out of yourself and it’s better than going to the doctors.”
New people are always welcome to join the group which meet every Tuesday from 10am to midday in ‘The Hive’ at the Four Seasons Shopping Centre in Mansfield.