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Project continues to tackle loneliness through the coronavirus crisis

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                     Press Release

Ref:PRCP002                                                                                                Date: May 2020

Project continues to tackle loneliness through the coronavirus crisis

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The ongoing coronavirus restrictions haven't prevented an award-winning project continuing its good work in tackling loneliness and isolation in and around Staffordshire.

Led by Stafford and Rural Homes (SARH)  BeConnected hashelped scores of elderly, disabled or otherwise isolated members of the community to make new friends and engage in a wide range of activities.

Due to the lockdown, its usually packed programme of social events has been put on hold but the project's vital mission has continued.

Alison Poole, BeConnected coordinator explained: "Now, more than ever, it's important that we don't forget those who may already have been feeling lonely or isolated, especially if they have no-one else to look out for them during these difficult times.

"While it's not been possible to continue with our fun and free events where members can meet face-to-face, we've made sure we all stay in touch by telephone."

The calls from Alison and BeConnected volunteers provide much more than reassurance and the comfort of hearing a friendly voice, they've provided advice on accessing mental wellbeing services and foodbanks as well as help with the delivery of food and medication.

"As part of the service, we can make sure people are safe and well, and have access to essential services while feeling someone cares about them," Alison said. "We've even started to put people in touch with others who share similar interests and experiences so that they can support each other with regular chats over the telephone."

BeConnected customerRosemary Roberts is one of many to benefit from the calls and said: "Stafford and Rural Homes are amazing and have done a wonderful job doing these calls, the staff are so friendly and helpful. 

"They've enabled me to make contact with the people I met at BeConnected, which has been a real lifeline as I cannot get out. It's nice to know someone is looking out for me and getting in touch every week, and also that help is there should I need it."

Pauline Lawrence from Highfields in Stafford has also benefitted from the calls and said: "I think Alison, other members of SARH and volunteers are doing a fantastic job. They are all pleasant, friendly and approachable, and are genuinely interested in how you are doing.

"I've benefitted tremendously from the calls, especially as I've missed terribly the many friends I've made through BeConnected."

BeConnected was launched in 2017 by SARH - now part of Housing Plus Group - with thehelp of Stafford Borough Council  The project is also supported byThe National Lottery Community Fund, which is helping to enable BeConnectedto look at new ways of helping customers connect with each other, whilst staying safe.

Elizabeth Lodge, Head of Community Wellbeing Services at Housing Plus Group, added: "Even Covid-19 can't stop this fantastic project and, in these uncertain times, it's proving more valuable than ever.

"This award-winning project really does illustrate how we're striving to makea positive difference to homes, lives and communities in the areas we serve."


Making the call, BeConnected coordinator Alison Poole. 

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Background for editors

Care Plus specialises in housing and support for older people and those with physical or learning difficulties. It manages 53 retirement living communities across Staffordshire and Shropshire and provides domiciliary care helping people to live independently with support, in their own homes.

The personal care service delivered by Care Plus has been assessed as Good in all areas by the Care Quality Commission and its carers were recognised as among the best in the country when they were named finalists in the Care & Support Team of the Year category of the Housing Heroes Awards in 2017 and 2018. Care Plus is also one of the finalists for the Best Older People's Landlord award, presented by the UK Housing Awards.

Care Plus is registered as a Charitable Community Benefit Society and is part of Housing Plus Group, one of the largest housing providers in the area.

Media contact:

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

Housing Plus Group contact:

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