Our award-winning BeConnected project, aimed at tackling loneliness and isolation in and around Staffordshire, has launched a fresh programme of Covid-safe events.
Throughout the pandemic, members of the BeConnected team and volunteers have stayed in touch with those who attended BeConnected activities before lockdown, checking on their wellbeing.
Based on these conversations, BeConnected is stepping up activities to help people find new ways to engage with others.
Led by Care Plus, the project usually holds face-to-face events for customers in Stafford and surrounding areas, but now it’s encouraging people to take part in an exciting programme of group activities by telephone.
Project coordinator, Alison Poole said that many BeConnected customers are particularly vulnerable to Covid-19 and it would not be safe for them to get together, even in small groups:
“Reassurance calls made by the project team and our volunteers in recent months have proved extremely popular and the idea is being expanded with plans to organise a series of group chats and games that can be played by telephone.
The first round of activities took place earlier this month and proved popular with new and existing customers. Future activities include games, quizzes and conference calls on craft skills as well as regular opportunities to chat with friends old and new.
BeConnected was launched in 2017 by Stafford and Rural Homes (SARH), with the help of Stafford Borough Council. SARH and Care Plus are part of Housing Plus Group, along with South Staffordshire Housing Association, Severnside Housing and Severn Homes.
The project is supported by The National Lottery Community Fund, which is helping to enable BeConnected to look at new ways of helping customers connect with each other, whilst staying safe.
Elizabeth Lodge, head of community wellbeing services at Care Plus believes it’s more important than ever to maintain contact with the outside world:
“The range of activities BeConnected offers, and the social interaction it provides are a lifeline to many, providing a real boost to both mental and physical health,” she said.
A full programme of events, along with details on how to take part, can be found at www.sarh.co.uk/beconnected
Photograph taken before social distancing guidelines were introduced.