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Here to Help: Not Alone - Support ramps up for project helping tackle loneliness amid coronavirus

Reporter Donna-Louise Bishop launching the Not Alone (pen pal initiative) string of the Here to Help campaign. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Reporter Donna-Louise Bishop launching the Not Alone (pen pal initiative) string of the Here to Help campaign. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

Dozens of people have responded to a rallying cry to help keep communities and individuals connected during these unprecedented times.

Keeping in touch as Donna-Louise Bishop launches the Not Alone (pen pal initiative) string of the Here to Help campaign. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYKeeping in touch as Donna-Louise Bishop launches the Not Alone (pen pal initiative) string of the Here to Help campaign. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Since the launch of the Here to Help: Not Alone campaign - a pen friend initiative to tackle loneliness during social isolation - so many of you have been in touch already offering to be involved.

So far, enquiries have come in thick and fast from all corners of the county and it is hoped that the first wave of people will be ready to send emails and letters out soon.

Senior reporter Donna-Louise Bishop, who is overseeing the project, was delighted by the amount of responses and positive feedback received already.

“It’s been absolutely heartwarming to see so many emails drop into my inbox with people wanting to be involved,” she said.

“The idea is to make sure that as many people as possible do not feel alone during this time and so far, Norfolk has done itself proud.

“We’ve heard from teachers, school children, war veterans, charity volunteers, and even entire families who are willing to take the time to write to people in their community and make sure no one feels alone at this difficult time.

“We are starting to get loads of enquiries from people wanting to connect with others, so please get in touch if you want to be involved - it’s not too late to be part of it.”

The EDP and Norwich Evening News unveiled its latest campaign, Here to Help, in a bid to create an army of helpers to step in to offer extra support. As an extra string to its bow, Here to Help: Not Alone is all about steering the focus towards positive mental health and wellbeing and counteracting the effects of social isolation.

Together with Norfolk County Council, the initiative aims to tackle concerns and alleviate issues surrounding loneliness as more and more people find themselves at home.

Becoming a Here to Help pen friend could appeal to residents in care homes, people who want to build new friendships, parents or careers who want a project to do at home with children, or anyone who simply wants to send and receive letters, postcards, cards, a poem or a drawing either regularly or as a one-off – the list is endless.

• To get in touch email Donna-Louise.Bishop@archant.co.uk with the subject header “Here to Help: Not Alone”, your contact details, the type of involvement you would like to have, and the preference of person or group you would like to write to and/or hear from. We will then put you in touch with each other.

Here to Help Campaign

With Norfolk County Council, we have launched our Here to Help campaign in a bid to create an army of helpers to step in to offer that extra support.

Clearly, there are safety issues of which to be aware but there are all ways in which we can help - whether that’s dropping off food, walking a pet, phoning someone on their own or just pointing them in the direction of the most up to date advice.

We’ve included a Here to Help postcard, which we would love to see people post through their neighbours’ letterboxes.

For updates, visit our Facebook page Norfolk Coronavirus Updates .

Join our Here to Help Facebook page here .

• If you are doing something to help in your community email donna-louise.bishop@archant.co.uk.

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