Alliance members come together to tackle lockdown loneliness
PUBLISHED: 12:45 19 May 2020 | UPDATED: 13:40 19 May 2020
In a time of isolation, helping communities to connect has never been more important. Here we find out what some of members of the Norwich Together Alliance have been doing to help.
With an ambition to tackle loneliness and social isolation in Norwich, Aviva established the Norwich Together Alliance last year. The alliance is a network of local businesses, charities and the council that have joined forces to explore how we can shape our city to help us all feel more connected.
Now more than ever, alliance members want to be there for you and offer the support and guidance you need to get through this challenging time.
Here we find out what some of the members have been doing:
*Better Together service continues to support community
As a service designed to deal with loneliness and social isolation, Voluntary Norfolk’s Better Together has found creative ways to support people who find themselves unexpectedly isolated during Covid-19, offering support by phone, email, video chat and social media.
The requirements to stay at home will, of course, mean that it is no longer possible to connect people to groups, as the team would normally recommend, or undertake home visits, but they are still able to offer telephone support, video chats and signposting to other support.
Katie Snazell, one of the Norwich Life Connectors, schedules in regular chats with her clients to provide continuity and routine, while colleague Will Dowe runs a friendly Facebook group, the daily 2pm Check–In, where people can talk about how they’re managing during isolation or just have a chat about things on their mind.
There are also plans to launch a Better Together radio show.
As Katie says: “We are all getting an insight into how it must feel to be isolated from the community and why it is so important to find new ways to bring people together.”
The Better Together freephone helpline is open Mondays-Fridays, 9am-5pm on 0300 303 3920, or visit www.bettertogethernorfolk.org.uk
*Volunteers make a big difference to city’s community response
The Norwich Community Response Hub set up by Norwich City Council has so far co-ordinated the delivery of over 460 food parcels, completed over 330 medical pickups, and made over 5,500 welfare calls to the city’s most vulnerable citizens. These figures are rising every day, and thanks go to the many dedicated volunteers for helping to make this happen.
Parks and open spaces in the city remain open to allow people to complete vital daily exercise while maintaining social distancing.
All changes made to services during this challenging time can be found at Norwich.gov.uk/coronavirus, which is regularly updated with the latest developments, ways to get involved and how to access help.
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If you or someone you know needs help during this challenging time take a look at www.lumi.org.uk/covid-19 where you can access a whole range of advice and guidance in the coronavirus resource area, from help for individuals and keeping safe to community groups, employees and businesses.
*Housing group launches initiative to support the most vulnerable
Social distancing measures and the lockdown have forced many people to be alone in their homes. Flagship Group’s priority is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of its customers, staff and communities.
The group, whose goal is to solve the housing crisis in the East of England, has worked in partnership to ensure that the most vulnerable are supported – to do this, it has provided accommodation for rough sleepers and adapted customers’ homes to prevent them from being admitted to hospital or enabling them to return home safely.
“Our staff have called thousands of customers to ensure they are safe, have what they need and to offer continuous support,” said chief executive David McQuade (pictured above), who has reached out to help those in vulnerable situations. “We have also doubled our ‘kindness fund’, a pot designed to support those who are struggling, and delivered food parcels to local communities and supported small charities.
“During these difficult times, we are here for you. If we can help in any way, please do not hesitate to get in touch.”
Flagship has also launched Hopestead, a new initiative that will initially support those who are experiencing genuine hardship as a result of COVID-19. Looking forward, Flagship aims to register Hopestead as a charity and will work in partnership to end homelessness in the East of England, help to build sustainable communities and ensure everyone has a place to call home.
To find out more, visit Flagship Group’s website at www.flagship-group.co.uk
*National network links business support to community needs
As the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on towns and cities across the UK intensifies, the need to link business support to community need has never been more urgent.
To meet this need, Business in the Community has launched the National Business Response Network to identify community needs across the UK and match them to the right business support.
It has already made well over 350 matches between community organisations and businesses across the UK.
If you are a community organisation (charity, NHS, care home, social enterprise) and have a need, or are a business looking to support with resources, please contact BITC via the online platform at www.businessresponsecovid.org.uk, or on the 24-hour hotline 0141 285 3821.
Also visit www.bitc.org.uk for lots of other resources designed to support employers, communities and small business during the crisis.
For more information and stories on what the Norwich Together Alliance members are doing to bring Norwich Together during the COVID-19 pandemic, click here.
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