Christian project to combat loneliness in Norfolk
A national initiative to address social isolation and loneliness has launched in Norfolk and is looking for churches and Christian agencies to work with it to address the issue, with the possibility of a £2,000 grant available.
Charity Linking Lives UK, which has already established projects in over 30 towns and villages across the country, has identified Norfolk as one where older people are particularly at risk of social isolation and loneliness due to various factors including health, age, marital status and household size.
The charity, founded in 2016, focuses on reducing social isolation and loneliness among older people through befriending programmes in partnership with local churches and Christian organisations.
Linking Lives UK has successfully secured funding for an initial period of three years to develop befriending projects in Norfolk where there is both demand and little existing provision.
The project will involve research in the early stages to ensure that the work is co-ordinated with current activities and groups in the region. There are also plans to explore opportunities for inter-generational models of practice which can then be used in other areas.
A Regional Development Worker has been appointed to establish the charity’s model of partnership within Norfolk. Angela Caley, a West Norfolk resident, took up the post in February.
She said: “The issues of loneliness and social isolation are so prolific within this county. People are becoming more aware of the negative effects that being alone can have on individuals mentally, physically and spiritually.
“With a growing awareness often comes a desire to respond to the need, but knowing how exactly to help can be a challenge. That’s where Linking Lives comes in – we provide the tried-and-tested framework for starting a new project, with support and training from members of the team. We literally link the lives of those needing companionship with those wanting to provide it.
“I am excited about the potential for this sort of community development as all the components already exist - there is such an impact that can be made by connecting people together. Churches can, and in many cases already do, really make a difference in Norfolk!”
Linking Lives is one of the charities that are part of the Cinnamon Network, an organisation that exists to support local churches reach their potential. The Cinnamon Network have just announced that micro-grants of up to £2,000 will be available to churches in Norfolk to help initiate new projects, which include Linking Lives.
If your church is interested in starting a Linking Lives project, you can visit https://linkinglives.uk for more information, or alternatively contact Angela Caley at: firstname.lastname@example.org