Loneliness Awareness Week 17th-22nd June
Connecting Chelford supports lonely and vulnerable residents in the Chelford area. The free service was set up in April 2018 to deliver a volunteer befriending service in Chelford and the local area, which could support people who may feel lonely and/or isolated and in need of company and conversation from local community residents. By developing such support, the key aim is to contribute to the growth of a robust, compassionate and resilient community. In a relatively short time, the initiative has had a positive community impact:
"Lonely, isolated people are now getting out and our community is being strengthened as people begin to look out for others and find positive ways of offering help through Connecting Chelford" (Gerri Tetzlaff, former Revd, St John's Church, Chelford)
Progress to date:
Connecting Chelford is a constituted group with a committee supported by Chelford Surgery and St John's Church. All volunteers are Enhanced DBS checked and policies are in place to safeguard all involved. The service has 25 volunteers and over the last 12 months 15 residents are being or have been supported.
"My wife really finds herself trapped in a lonely place, where not many people can be trusted. The only ray of light in that dark lonely place comes from Connecting Chelford volunteers, who are impartial honest folk. You have given us immense support during this period" (husband of a Befriendee).
Connecting Chelford has received welcome and valuable financial support, as well as services in kind, advice and guidance from a wide range of sources including: A Chelford family; AJ Boons Butchers; Chelford Community Hub; Chelford Farm Supplies; Chelford Surgery; Chelford Together; End of Life Partnership; Full Colour Printers; Matt Dingle Computer Services; National Westminster Bank; St John's Church. More recently Connecting Chelford received grant awards from Cheshire East Carers Hub and Assura Healthy Communities, for ensuring the continuation of the service into a second year.
"As Chair of the Connecting Chelford Management Committee, I am delighted that the existing volunteer befrienders can be increased following successful grant applications, thus allowing more residents to be supported" (Revd. Fiona Robinson)
-Recruitment of outstanding local, committed and willing volunteers has been very positive.
-Gained important support from local agencies, reflecting the value placed on our service.
-New events delivered to support Befriendees back into the community in addition to those -Improved health and wellbeing and quality of life, reducing loneliness through the work of special befriending volunteers.
-Evaluation supported by End of Life Partnership shows positive impact on individuals. Feedback has been extremely positive reflecting the quality and value of support undertaken by our befriending volunteers.
-Intergenerational activities, including events hosted by Chelford Brownies and Guides
"You have lifted me out of depression with your visits and helping me engage with my new community, so much so I no longer need to take my tablets" (Chelford Befriendee)
As we expand the service if you are interested in hearing more about the service, know someone that may benefit from visits, or would like to become a befriending volunteer or help in other ways contact: Barbara Wilson Connecting Chelford Coordinator email: firstname.lastname@example.org