Community leaders keen to raise awareness of lonliness on National Singles Day
PUBLISHED: 17:20 28 February 2017 | UPDATED: 17:20 28 February 2017
London and Quadrant Housing Association will be training volunteers to befriend lonely people in the Bexley area
Next Friday (March 11) is National Singles Day, and community leaders in Bexley and Greenwich are keen to raise awareness that it is not only youngsters who may be single.
On the day when the nation celebrates those who are on their own and the ways people can make contact with each other to forge new relationships.
London and Quadrant (the housing association) community support team is calling on people to take the opportunity to become a volunteer befriender in the Bexley area. If you live on your own – or know someone who is a Bexley resident who could do with a friendly hand - and would like to know more about the scheme, you can contact London and Quadrant Community Investment Team, by calling 0300456 9998.
The London and Quadrant team is working with the Crossroads Care charity to offer the befriending service. Crossroads Care is able to provide training to volunteers so they can offer a befriending service. The project has been running in the Bexley area since last July .
Matthew Spooner, community investment officer at London and Quadrant, said: “At a time when more people are living on their own, tackling isolation is a vital way to improving the quality of life for so many people.
Research shows that loneliness and social isolation are harmful to our health: lacking social connections is a comparable risk factor for early death as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and is worse for us than well-known risk factors such as obesity and physical inactivity. Loneliness increases the likelihood of mortality by 26 per cent.
In partnership with Crossroads, London and Quadrant is working hard to address this serious problem.”
Lynda Munns, volunteer coordinator for Crossroads, said: “Crossroads Care South East London were commissioned by London and Quadrant in July 2016 to run a pilot Volunteer Befriending Service in Bexley to support and enhance the lives of residents who may be experiencing isolation or loneliness. The pilot has given residents the opportunity to become a befriender or be a recipient of the befriending service.
Our aim has been to empower residents to be as independent as possible, increase their social contacts and self-confidence as well as encouraging them to participate in education, training or recreational opportunities. This has had a positive impact on improving residents domestic, family and personal relationships.”