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Loneliness and isolation can affect anyone leading to anxiety, depression and worse. Here, in rural North Northamptonshire, the absence of public transport and other services can make matters even worse especially for parents of young children and the not so young.
Never Alone is a project initiated by KC Active in partnership with a wide range of local groups and organisations including – The Underground, the local churches, The Schools, The Old Blokes Club, GPs and lots of others. We are planning to launch Never Alone in June this year.
Never Alone aims to confront loneliness and to support those most affected into some shared activity and long-term companionship. Working with health professionals and within the community to identify people who are lonely and isolated, a team of trained volunteers will offer advice, transport or just a bit of encouragement in order to get people into something they will enjoy and into new friendships.
We will be promoting physical activity programmes accessible together by all ages – walks, exercise programmes and fitness sessions utilising the new Gym at The Active and upgraded fitness studio along with a regular social programme based on the new Café at The Active.
The community Transition minibus and volunteer drivers will ensure that mobility is not a bar to participation for people across the very North of Northamptonshire.
Initial activities to include:
- Appoint a lead worker to recruit and train volunteers to identify and support isolated individuals and encourage them to engage with some of a menu of existing or new activities
- Build on the experience of the Church’s Friday café, using the new café at the Active, the Club and other venues for regular tea, cake and chat sessions
- Open-up the Underground ‘Tiddler’ (0 – 3 age) group to older people for mutual benefits (companionship, education and potential for longer term relationships between older people and isolated young families)
- Reinvigorate the regular ‘Meet & Eat’ lunches at the Active and other locations – inviting residents of all ages to join in
- Establish a Gardening Group (from the Old Blokes Club, Gardeners Association and from the Underground Youth Club) working together and establishing a plot of raised beds at the Active to grow produce for the café
- Encourage a range of activities at the Active and other venues, aimed at multi-generational participation (arts and crafts, including sewing circle, board games, reading group and movement and dance)
- Promote physical activity programmes accessible together by all ages – walks, exercise programmes and fitness sessions utilising the new gym at the Active and the upgraded fitness studio
- Engage the Transition minibus and volunteer drivers to ensure that mobility is not a bar to participation, and enabling trips out of the village to events and activities
- Work with Kings Cliffe Players, Heritage and the Endowed Primary School to provide a regular programme of events focused on the history of the community and hearing from those who live in it