The essential journalist news source
BeConnected members join in lottery celebrations


                     Press Release


Ref:PRSH286.                                                                                     Date: January 7, 2020

BeConnected members join in lottery celebrations

A group of people posing for a photoDescription automatically generated

 Hi-res image

An award-winning project that's helping tackle loneliness and isolation in communities across Stafford has been joining in recent celebrations to mark the 25thanniversary of the first National Lottery draw.

Managed by Stafford and Rural Homes (SARH) - now a proud member of Housing Plus Group - BeConnected is one of thousands of worthy causes to benefit from The National Lottery Community Fund and last year received a grant of nearly £60,000 to continue its good work.

To show their gratitude, BeConnected members joined in the birthday celebrations at a special event in Stafford where they welcomed representatives from The National Lottery Community Fund and other local groups benefitting from its support.

Kathy Jones, Operational director of housing for Housing Plus Group, explained: "In 2019 BeConnected staged more than 80 events and, with around 360 members, it's proving a huge success.

"This would not be possible without the fantastic support from The National Lottery Community Fund and we were delighted to host one of many events across the county celebrating this landmark anniversary."

"It's also a pleasure to attend any BeConnected event and I've always been struck by the friendliness and warm welcome from those taking part and the volunteers who have also made a huge contribution to the project's popularity."

Led by SARH, BeConnected includes a programme offun and free activities including arts, crafts, gardening and exercise classes at easy to access venues across the Borough.

It aims to help older people, who are feeling lonely or are socially isolated, to make new friends, to get out and about and help prevent the physical and psychological health risks associated with loneliness.

Alongside around 45 BeConnected members and volunteers, representatives from a number of local organisations to benefit from The National Lottery Community Fund also attended the birthday party.

Groups and projects represented at the event included Stafford Social Hub, Colanley Gardens and Make Some Noise - charities that also work with a range of activities for the elderly and vulnerable.

During the afternoon at St Bertelin's Church Hall, Stafford, they all appreciated live music and dancing while enjoying each other's company and meeting up with friends old and new.

BeConnected member and volunteer, 68-year-old Ron Mellor, said: "Events like this are fantastic and, as we get older, my wife and I know we'll be surrounded by friends and be able to maintain a busy social life."

A regular bingo caller at BeConnected events, Ron also helps to serve up refreshments and says he gets a lot out of taking part.

"Whether you are a volunteer or a member, BeConnected offers a great way to get out and about and remain an active member of the community," he added.


Celebrating Lottery successare:Ron Mellor, BeConnected Volunteer; Hayley Murphy, Independent Living Manager; Judy Mitchell, BeConnected Customer; Alison Poole, BeConnected Co-ordinator, Jane Green, The National Lottery Community Fund Funding Officer, Midlands; Joy Patton, BeConnected Customer; Kathy Jones, Operational director of housing for Housing Plus Group.


- END -

About Stafford and Rural Homes

Stafford and Rural Homes (SARH) is the largest social landlord in Stafford with around 6,000 homes across Stafford, Stone and the rural villages across the Borough. Established in 2006 to own and manage the former Stafford Borough Council housing stock, SARHset up a trading subsidiary company Housing Worx, to deliver planned maintenance works to its properties and fulfil commercial contracts in 2012. SARHalso offers 18 Independent Living schemes for people aged over 55 andan award winning Telecare home safety and personal security system for the elderly and vulnerable.SARH has invested more than £100 million on improvement and regeneration programmes and building over 500 high quality new homes for rent and shared ownership which have benefited SARH customers by improving neighbourhoods and creating job opportunities for local people. A Community Benefit Society (CBS), the housing association has pledged tobuild or acquire 900 new homes by 2021 andworks in partnership with local authorities, health trusts, statutory bodies and a range of voluntary organisations to create safe, sustainable communities where residents can ‘Live, Work and Grow'.

Follow SARH on Twitter@SARHomes

Media contact:
Martin Farrow
CHANGEWORKS Communications
t: + 44 (0) 1785 247588
m: +44 (0)7771 970025


Stafford and Rural Homes contact:

Mara Hargreaves
Marketing and Communications Manager
t:01785 216793 (Direct) 
m:07800 619 863 (Mobile)