Tackling Loneliness Together is a DCMS and EFL Trust funded programme aimed at improving social inclusion and decreasing social isolation across 32 local authority areas, including Blackpool. We aim to engage with those who are elderly, living in a low-income area, living with one or more long term health condition, living with a disability, widowed or living alone. We have numerous opportunities to support those we engage with including; phone call support, postal offers, online session support, garden gate conversations and NCS local action.
The intentions of Tackling Loneliness Together is to identify those who are isolated and suffer from a lack of social activity. By working with numerous external partners, we can create a network that gives us a greater reach and access to those most in need, whilst also creating a real sense of community. Once we have identified those in need of support, our aim is to provide them with the support they need to feel less isolated, whether it be phone calls, inclusion in our online social sessions or face to face garden gate visits. By catering to the needs of the individual we can provide them with the support they need, at the right time, to help them feel less socially isolated.
To date, we have engaged with 180 individuals including current provision users and referrals received from external partners. These engagements have come through phone calls, online sessions, and garden gate conversations.
We identified 500 season ticket holders aged between 60-90+ living in certain postcodes who we feel may need some support. This led to the creation of a wellbeing check letter, in which we introduced ourselves and the programme, whilst offering support for those who are suffering from social isolation. In this letter we included a well wish message from the club manager, Neil Critchley, letting the season ticket holders know they are being missed by the football club.
A big part of the project is the inclusion of volunteers and we have been fortunate to have identified and introduced volunteers to the programme. Our volunteers have helped with the creation of quizzes for our postal offer, packing of our season ticket holder letters and assisted with phone support calls and garden gate conversations. The work of the volunteers has been excellent, and they are an integral part of the Tackling Loneliness Team. We have also identified certain people we have engaged with who may also like to help volunteer moving forward.
Lee Kenworthy, Health Officer at Blackpool FC Community Trust said, “We have made a great start to the project, reaching those in need and creating a strong partnership network that enables us to reach across Blackpool and in turn, tackle loneliness together”.
Recently we visited a gentleman named Ronald as part of our Garden Gate visits. Ronald is a male in his 90’s who lives alone and, with his family living abroad, had very little interaction with people in person.
After creating a working partnership with Blackpool Coastal Housing, we were made aware of Ronald. We decided to go and visit Ronald on his 94th birthday, taking him a card from the Community Trust, alongside Blackpool Coastal Housing and Red Cross. Ronald was delighted to see us as he rarely gets visitors and really appreciated the cards and well wishes. We had a good chat with Ronald and informed him of our plans to hopefully include him in our online offer to increase his social interaction.
This is a perfect example of community providers working together to help cater to the needs of those in Blackpool which is another key aspect of the project.
For more information please call 01253 348 691