Feeling isolated or lonely? Reconnections can help

 

Reconnections Guildford and Waverley can provide a helping hand to rediscover life.

Many people have experienced loneliness or isolation – particularly over the past 18 months and throughout the pandemic. Reconnections provided by Independent Age works with the over 65s to provide companionship and support to rediscover new interests, make new friendships and rekindle a love for life.

The free service is available to residents in Guildford and Waverley and provides a valuable link to local businesses and community partners to create a range of opportunities to connect.

Every journey is different, and there is a recognition that everyone has differing needs. The Reconnections team and friendly volunteers appreciate this and listen to each individual and work together with them to identify what they really want to enable them to make links and put isolation behind them.

It’s not always fun or easy to go it alone so the team at Reconnections will work with local partners to bring together a network of people who want to support each other.  From ten-pin bowling to a meal out; forming a new band; sharing a trip to the cinema; an online call or a walk with the dog - everyone enjoys something different, and the Reconnections team will help match people to what will be fun for them and help them feel better connected. It can be hard to find that motivation or confidence, so the service offers one-to-one support along the way.

The team is supported by local volunteers who will work alongside new members to understand what matters to them, helping them rebuild their confidence to make new friends and rediscover their interests. It’s easy to volunteer and just an hour a week could make a huge difference. It’s very flexible and can be planned around other commitments.

Reconnections by Independent Age builds on the success of the original Reconnections scheme in Worcestershire. As part of Independent Age’s Innovation strategy to invest in promising approaches, Guildford and Waverley is one of the sites where the service will be piloted for two years.

Deborah Alsina, Chief Executive of Independent Age, the older people’s charity developing Reconnections, said, “Social disconnection can happen to anyone at any stage in life and is a growing problem across Britain. We believe one of the best ways to address this challenge is through meaningful, sustained, local engagement that doesn’t just provide companionship, but builds community too.

The service is supported by local partners: Guildford & Waverley Integrated Care Partnership; Waverley Borough Council; Guildford Borough Council. It also works closely with local health and care professionals, charities, and community groups.

Vicky Stobbart, Deputy Place Based Leader/Chief Officer - Guildford and Waverley Health and Care Alliance said: “The wellbeing of an individual is so important as it impacts how they feel and how they live their life. I am delighted that Guildford and Waverley is able to support this excellent and much needed service for our local community.”

Councillor Michaela Martin, Waverley Borough Council Portfolio Holder for Health, Wellbeing and Culture added: “It is so easy for older people to become cut off from their community and support networks, through having friends and family move out of the area or having to move themselves to downsize – or because an illness or reduced mobility means they can’t get out and about like they used to.

“Social isolation has also increased as a result of the restrictions due to Coronavirus. So, I’m really pleased to support the launch of the Reconnections service in our area.  I would urge anyone that knows an older person who would benefit from the service, or anyone who could spare some time to help as a volunteer, to please get in touch.”

For more information about Reconnections, to sign up to participate in the service or become a volunteer:

 

Find out more about Independence and Wellbeing for Guildford and Waverley residents.

 

 

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