The Ending Loneliness Campaign
We’ve all felt lonely at some point in our lives, and during the pandemic loneliness and social isolation has become even more prominent across our communities. The Campaign to End Loneliness recently highlighted that around 1 million more people became chronically lonely during lockdowns. That’s a total of 3.7 million people across the country who feel often or regularly lonely during 2021.
The pandemic has been difficult for everyone, we were told to stay home, many for up to 18 months due to health vulnerabilities. As we emerge now into our new normal it's more important than ever that we make people aware of the services, support and activities available to the boroughs people that can help to create connection, improve mental wellbeing and reduce feelings of loneliness.
As a collective of organisations, each member of North Tyneside’s Ending Loneliness Partnership has a different offer. We're here to explain a bit more about who they are and what they do:
Age UK North Tyneside
“Loneliness can affect people in very different ways and even if an older person has family and friends, they may still have times when they may feel lonely or are in need of friendship.”
Age UK North Tyneside’s befriending services offer older people a chance to share their stories, make a new friend and connect with someone outside their usual social circle.
The service works solely for the benefit of older people and their carers living in the Borough of North Tyneside. Through volunteering, you are helping to make a positive difference to the lives of older people in your local community. Age UK North Tyneside recognises the benefit and value of volunteering and believes volunteering is an activity that should be open to all members of the community.
One of Age UK North Tyneside’s Befriending customers, Sarah, shares her experience of a befriending day:
“I get up a couple of hours in advance because I’m really looking forward to it. We talk about family. We talk about our dogs. My volunteer has inspired me to do things, she’s really good fun too and we have such a laugh! You’re not alone. You know you have someone to talk to and it’s built my confidence and lifted me so much.”
- Request a Befriender from Age UK North Tyneside and you can build up and maintain a trusting close relationship over time. Regular social interaction might help you pursue a new direction in life, open up a range of activities, and build confidence. Your one to one relationship will be supported by us. You can request someone to visit you at home or, you might prefer someone to telephone you. If you want to grow a new friendship, just give us a call at Age UK North Tyneside and we will start the ball rolling.
Home Visit Befriending services: Tel: 0191 280 8484 Option 0 or contact Beverley on 07974 184813.
North Tyneside Carers Centre are the only generic carer support service in North Tyneside supporting both young and adult carers. Our knowledgeable team supports carers with everything from advocacy to mental health through one-to-one sessions and peer support groups. We also provide specialist training and information sessions created by us to help make life easier for you and the person you care for.
Caring can be rewarding but many carers can feel isolated as they juggle their caring role with other responsibilities, especially during the pandemic. Our Carers’ Community Link workers offer individually tailored support to help carers build resilience and identify barriers they face which prevent them having a life outside of their caring role.
Carers’ Community Link Workers will support a carer to consider their own aspirations and the resources and activities in their local community they would like to access. They will offer wellbeing activities and groups to support carers. They will also make links with groups and organisations in the locality areas of North Tyneside, which they can signpost carers to and raise their awareness to help create carer friendly communities. This will help recognise and support carers at an early stage and they will be less isolated as a result of being better connected to local people and organisations, allowing them to feel more part of the community.
To find out more: Email email@example.com or telephone: 0191 643 2298.
Citizens Advice North Tyneside
Citizens Advice North Tyneside is an independent service providing free, confidential, and impartial advice to residents in North Tyneside. We are equipped to deal with any issue, including debt and money, welfare benefits, housing, family, employment, utilities, legal, immigration, education and consumer. Citizens Advice North Tyneside are working with other Charitable partners in North Tyneside as part of the Ending Loneliness Partnership advising and assisting clients with issues in particular debt, benefits and housing which can have an major effect on people’s physical and mental health.
What people say who have received help from the Ending Loneliness project: Anne* lives on her own and after being pursued for a debt of over £30,000 contacted us for advice and assistance “I felt so much pressure from the debt collection agency who were trying to pressure me making payments to a debt I did not owe. It was a huge weight off my mind, and I can now rest easy in my bed after my caseworker confirmed I was not liable for the debt”. * Name changed.
Thomas lives on his own and suffers with Dementia, we were contacted by his family after he was pursued for a benefit overpayment of more than £15,000. After our caseworker sorted out the error by the DWP, his family said that Thomas* “was very relieved and grateful to have had the issue resolved and is now singing our praises to everyone”. *Name changed.
Our dedicated team of Social Welfare Advisers able to advise and support clients who may be struggling with debt, housing, and welfare benefits issues and welcome referrals from anyone in the North Tyneside area to get in touch for help and advice.
Call their Adviceline for free on: 0300 3309 047 open Monday to Friday 09:00- 17:00. You will speak to one of their advisers, where they will explore your problem and assess what your advice needs are. If you need further help, they will book a telephone appointment with one of their specialist advisers.
Good Neighbours Project
North Tyneside VODA’s Good Neighbours Project has been active across North Tyneside for the last six years; they support volunteers to carry out tasks typical of a ‘Good Neighbour’ for vulnerable residents at no cost.
They work with Good Neighbour volunteers to arrange for grocery shopping, prescriptions, DIY, odd jobs, gardening and buddy support on behalf of local residents who are unable to do these tasks without the help of a friendly neighbour.
It is hugely important to them to be there for people who might otherwise slip through the net or try to muddle along on their own. Their overall aim is to improve the health and wellbeing of our neighbours in North Tyneside.
“I am so grateful for the support, you are all angels. I will clap for you on Thursday. Thank you to you and your volunteers keep up the good work yous are true heroes” - Good Neighbour Beneficiary
"Due to my conditions I can't leave home due to shielding and being able to have this service has made everything easier. I don't have to worry over getting my medication and such a fast service. Thank you so much for being there at this difficult time.” - Good Neighbour Beneficiary
As of the 19 July 2021, our team of Good Neighbour volunteers can assist with tasks such as:
· Shopping on behalf of someone
· Utility top ups
· Prescription drop-offs
· Click and collect shopping deliveries
· Emergency food pack deliveries
· Walking buddies
· Community buddies
· Shopping buddies
· DIY / gardening tasks
*All of these tasks are subject to the government guidelines in place at that time.*
How can I refer into Good Neighbours for help?
The scheme is open to anyone aged 18+ who is a resident of North Tyneside and unable to complete the task themselves due to health, age or disability and has no one else they can call on for help. You can make a referral here.
Once a referral is made, their team of volunteer coordinators will match one of their helpful volunteers to complete the task.
Happy To Chat
North Tyneside’s Happy to Chat scheme was established by The Ending Loneliness Partnership in January 2020; its aim? to get people in North Tyneside talking to each other over a cuppa and a biscuit. Happy to Chat had to temporarily take a break during the pandemic, but now the scheme is starting up again at Covid secure venues across the borough.
With sessions currently running in Wallsend and Whitley Bay, with plans to expand into North Shields Happy to Chat is a welcoming space for everyone.
If you would like to set up your own scheme at a venue or group that you attend, then please do let us know and we can provide you with materials, support and advice to do so!
Jen, one of the volunteer coordinators for Happy to Chat chatted to LWNT about her experience with the scheme and said:
"It's been great hosting Happy to Chat, it's been lovely to see people come out of their shell and strike up conversations with someone new. Real friendships have started to form and I noticed people gain confidence every week. Some people stay for the full 2 hours, some people quickly pop in for 10 minutes. After a year of being isolated these small steps are so important."
Find the Happy to Chat Living Well North Tyneside profiles here:
Happy to Chat Wallsend - https://www.livingwellnorthtyneside.co.uk/activities/43
Happy to Chat Whitley Bay - https://www.livingwellnorthtyneside.co.uk/services/932
If you’d like to meet some new people, have chat, find some shared interests then contact us to find out more. Contact Jennifermars@voda.org.uk or telephone: 07970367227.
With thanks to Josie Robinson from North Tyneside VODA for providing this collated information and accompanying image.