BeConnected is reconnecting!

Our award-winning BeConnected project, aimed at tackling loneliness and isolation in and around Staffordshire, has launched a fresh programme of Covid-safe events. 

Throughout the pandemic, members of our the BeConnected team and volunteers have stayed in touch with those who attended BeConnected activities before lockdown, checking on their wellbeing.  

Based on these conversations, BeConnected is stepping up to help people find new ways to engage with others.  

Led by Care Plus, the project usually holds face-to-face events for customers in Stafford and surrounding areas. Now it’s encouraging people to take part in an exciting programme of free group activities by telephone. 

Project coordinator, Alison Poole,  said that many BeConnected participants  are particularly vulnerable to Covid-19 and would not  feel safe getting together in groups. 

“Reassurance calls made by the project team and volunteers over the past few months have proved extremely popular and now we are expanding  that, with plans to organise a series of group chats and games that can be played over the telephone,” she explained. 

Every Monday afternoon, BeConnected customers can brush up their craft skills with a conference call based around activity packs sent out by post and there are also plenty of opportunities to just chat on the phone over a cuppa with friends old and new. 

The group chats for up to 20 people are easy to join and, for those who’ve already registered as part of the project, there’s no need to book in advance. The first round of activities took place earlier this month and were a huge hit with new and existing customers. 

Monika, who lives in Stone, took part in many BeConnected events pre-lockdown. She  is excited at the prospect of reconnecting with friends over the telephone, saying she has missed talking to them over the last few months. 

BeConnected was launched in 2017 by Stafford and Rural Homes (SARH) with the help of Stafford Borough Council. SARH and Care Plus are part of Housing Plus Group. 

The project is supported by The National Lottery Community Fund, which is helping to enable BeConnected to look at new ways of helping customers connect with each other, whilst staying safe.  

Elizabeth Lodge, head of community wellbeing services at Care Plus believes it’s more important than ever to maintain contact with the outside world. 

“The range of activities it offers, and the social interaction they provide, are proving a lifeline to many, providing a real boost to both mental and physical health,” she said. 

A full programme of events, along with details on how to take part, can be found at www.sarh.co.uk/beconnected 

Photograph taken before social distancing guidelines were introduced.

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