Here to Help: Community group to tackle loneliness aims to become permanent

Volunteers at the launch of ChetChat. Credit: Submitted

Volunteers at the launch of ChetChat. Credit: Submitted - Credit: Archant

A vital community group helping to tackle loneliness amongst the most vulnerable aims to become a permanent feature in the area.

ChetChat mug. Credit: Submitted

ChetChat mug. Credit: Submitted - Credit: Archant

ChetChat is a community group based in Loddon, Norfolk, which was set up after the end of the first lockdown to help tackle loneliness in the town and beyond.

During the first lockdown, the Hub was set up by Councillor Jeremy Rowe in the town to help the vulnerable and shielding by running errands for them.

At its peak the Hub was fielding up to 40 requests a day in Loddon alone, mainly for shopping and prescription errands and volunteers responded to every request via an Uber-style WhatsApp group.

ChetChat was formed afterwards and has been a hit ever since, leading volunteers to look towards making it a permanent feature in the town.

People are urged to get in contact with ChetChat if they are feeling lonely. Credit: Submitted

People are urged to get in contact with ChetChat if they are feeling lonely. Credit: Submitted - Credit: Archant

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Volunteer Isobel Thomas said: “Our aim is to tackle loneliness in the community by offering helpful friendship, initially to the over 60s, but hopefully to anyone who needs some support from a friendly person.

“At the end of lockdown ChetChat was formed and is run on similar lines to the original Hub but ChetChat aims to become a permanent fixture in the community by befriending the elderly and offering them practical support, perhaps dropping in for a chat, walking a dog or changing a lightbulb.

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“In the long term our aim is to make regular visits to lonely people, but during lockdown these visits have morphed into phone calls from our volunteers.

“Support within the local community is growing rapidly but we continue to seek volunteers as we fear that during this winter loneliness in the community could become worse than ever.”

Although the volunteer group is very new, having only formed in July, they are hoping for more young blood after their successful launch outside the Loddon Coop where they handed out free ChetChat mugs and fridge magnets to advertise the services on offer.

Anyone wanting any help from the ChetChat team, or anyone seeking support for an elderly relative can phone 07876050110.

We ar eurging communities to look out for each other as part of our Here To Help campaign.

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