Reflecting with Andrew for #LonlinessAwarenessWeek
It’s Loneliness Awareness Week, a chance for us to reflect on the impact of loneliness in our communities which took on greater meaning during COVID-19. We spoke to staff member Andrew Rodgers, Older People’s Service Manager to find out how our Doorstep Help and Telephone Befriending scheme helped to combat this when the crisis hit.
“When we first heard about the possible impacts of COVID-19 we knew there was a very good possibility we would have to change the way we do things to support our community. This forward planning put us in a good position to launch our Telephone Befriending and Doorstep Help within 24 hours of lockdown.
Many of our members who come to our daycare Centre found themselves now self-isolating and needed immediate help with things such as food and medicine pickups. But we also knew that we had to help combat loneliness and stay connected during this time. Staff members Steve and Sarah plus our wonderful volunteers dropped off supplies for those who were self-isolating and we would make sure we would have a social distance chat on the doorstep. One member told us it “saddens her that the over 55’s appear to be forgotten, behind closed doors and marginalised in the news and the world in general’.
For some of our over 55’s community, they created new ways to fill their day following really systemic planning of their routine. Such as cleaning, dancing and gardening with many of our members being lucky enough to have some kind of green space. I’ve been told Mr Motivator has been a big hit and I continued my weekly e-newsletter as well.
Not everyone has the confidence or access to use technology, for a lot of our members the only time they use computers is at Millman Street or at the library. Making these doorstep visits from the outside world more important to help us maintain social relationships, sharing experiences and building new connections. Our Telephone Befriending scheme was an important part of tackling the challenges of being in isolation and so far we have made 700 calls.
Doorstep help also brought us new opportunities to make new friends we could support. Local organisations really pulled together to make this happen, like our Age UK Ramadan food parcels to working closely with local residential areas like the Tybalds and Bourne estates and Mount Pleasant Association to get referrals. Our staff are used to going out into the community making good connections and our positive word of mouth helped us to reach more people who needed support.
For myself, the hardest thing during this time at HCA has been missing the day to day of the centre that makes it such a fun, welcoming place to come too. I’m used to seeing the likes of Fred, Olive, David and Ivy with lots of dancing and we had a schedule of fun activities ready for the summer. But the good news is we are now planning how our over 55’s local community can return whilst having a safe positive experience with us and still keep that homely feel that we are proud of”.
To find out more how Holborn Community Association is here during COVID-19 email firstname.lastname@example.org