As Community Connections has developed over the past five years, we’ve realised addressing social isolation can look very different for different people’s needs. When we describe ourselves as a project addressing social isolation, people may imagine a more limited project, say a service that only connects to befrienders. In reality, Community Facilitators and Community Development Workers do so much more to build a stronger community support for vulnerable or isolated adults.
This leaflet shows how Community Facilitators support clients socially and practically
This leaflet describes Community Development Workers’ impact on building stronger communities
Community Facilitators work one-to-one with vulnerable adults in Lewisham to access community groups and services. Clients are referred to Community Connections in a number of ways, including GPs, social care services, community groups and self-referrals.
We surveyed 421 clients from April to September 2017, and found the following:
- 61% of clients had multiple health issues
- 36% of clients were experiencing mental health difficulties
- 29% of clients had a long-term health condition
- 58% of clients had mobility impairments or limitations
In terms of the work Community Facilitators did with clients, 94% requested support accessing social groups, which covers a broad array of activities and supports for the general population as well as specific groups (eg LGBT, older people). This was the most common way Facilitators addressed social isolation.
18% of clients requested befriending and 24% needed accessible transportation to access the community. These are two of the most over-subscribed services across the borough. 16% wanted help in their home, such as domestic help or a Social Care assessment of their house, and 27% needed further practical support in their daily lives. 22% of clients were linked to health services such as drug/ alcohol support, counselling or hand/ foot care. 21% of clients were in need of economic support services, such as food banks or debt advice.
Food and Meals Leaflet
Many people in Lewisham have a difficult time accessing healthy meals, and they may be worried about having enough food at home. This could be for a variety of reasons, and is more common than one might expect. Community Connections have put together a leaflet that may help you or someone you know who may want more options for free or low-cost food and hot meals. If you need vouchers to access the food banks, please ring Community Connections at 020 8314 3244 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
There are several partnerships in the area which could always use volunteers if you are interested in helping people access nutritious food whilst also reducing food waste in the borough. For more information, please see their websites:
FoodCycle Lewisham and Rushey Green Time Bank cook and serve a meal on Saturdays
FareShare London support local groups and activities to deliver free food and meals
Lewisham Food Banks have four locations across the borough
World Mental Health Day is an annual day of recognition for mental health issues and the people whose lives are impacted by them. This year Trevor, a Community Development Worker, set about arranging a conference bringing together statutory mental health services, community sector support, and local residents to celebrate mental health services around the borough and to recognise the work done by people with mental health issues to manage their health.
The event was supported by Cllr Jonathan Slater and organised by partners of Lewisham Mental Health Connection including: Community Connections, Hexagon, Apax, QVT, Metropolitan Police, Bromley and Lewisham Mind, Lewisham Council, Certitude and the Lewisham Pensioners Forum.
Trevor brought together information stalls and workshops on topics ranging from Employment, Laughter Yoga, Mindfulness, Art Therapy and Self-Management. There were over 100 people in attendance, and the day was a great success for all!
Jay is a 38 year-old man who developed epilepsy as an adult. He has a hard time controlling his seizures, and as a result he was afraid to leave his house for fear of having a seizure and not having help available.
A Community Facilitator (CF) met with Jay in his home to talk about his situation – his likes and dislikes, his interests and what holds him back from engaging in community life.
Jay said that he would like to get back into work again, but the first step for him would be to build confidence in leaving the house. The CF helped Jay to get an epilepsy card through Epilepsy Action, which Jay can carry in case someone finds him having a seizure.
The CF also suggested a nearby befriending group and helped Jay work out a safety plan with them: he will call the group to let them know he is coming, and if he does not arrive within an hour they group knows to notify the authorities that he has had difficulty along the way.
Having a safety plan helped Jay feel more confident in leaving the house. He asked about community gardening groups, and is now talking to Voluntary Services Lewisham about volunteering with them as well. Often the first step is the hardest, as Jay found.
“David is Homosexual” is a film shot in Lewisham and Greenwich over 40 years ago by the local branch of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality (CHE). It will be shown at the Lewisham ArtsCafé in Manor Park at 6.00pm on Sunday 30 July.
“David Is Homosexual” tells the story of one young man’s coming out to his family, friends and workmates at a time when homophobia was still rife. All those involved in making the film were members of the Lewisham Branch of CHE. The aim was to encourage local lesbian and gay people of all ages to join the group and to lose the sense of isolation and fear which so many felt at that time.
For over 30 years the film was preserved by its cameraman, David Belton, and following a revival of interest it is now in the British Film Institute archive. The film includes footage of the 1976 London Gay Pride March and might be a unique record of that event.
The film was directed by Wilfred Avery, an artist who had a retrospective exhibition at the Woodlands Gallery Greenwich the year after the film was made and died in 2016 aged 90. His partner of 50 years, Ray Crossley, who survives him, was one of the group members appearing in the film. Peter Scott-Presland, the author of “Amiable Warriors”, the official history of CHE, has described the film as ‘brave and touching’ and its return to Lewisham after so many years and in the different social attitudes it helped to achieve
will be an historic event.
Anyone involved in making the film is asked to contact David.email@example.com
Brockley Max Festival is looking for volunteers. Can you spare a couple of hours to help the local community, meet new people and have a bit of fun?
Brockley Max 2017, is a nine-day arts festival celebrating Lewisham’s local talent, taking place between Friday 2 and Saturday 10 June in Brockley, Crofton Park, Ladywell and Honor Oak Park.
We want to invite older volunteers to be part of Brockley Max 2017. Come on your own or with friends, while contributing your time to help make the festival run smoothly, for example, by handing out programmes, setting up events, being a festival ambassador or raising funds. You’ll be an essential part of Brockley Max, helping create a special atmosphere.
You can volunteer as much or as little of your time as you like; there’s plenty of variety and flexibility. If you have a spare few hours in May and June and can help out with, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call Emma: 07809 409 167
Community Connections is putting on a meet-up is for people tutoring ESOL or people involved in running ESOL groups or projects in Lewisham. There is so much knowledge across the borough, so this meet-up is a chance to share what’s working as well as an opportunity to talk through some issues or difficulties you might be experiencing with your group.
We will also be using this event to build comprehensive information on ESOL provision in the borough to share with students or prospective students – please come put your group on the map! There will be the opportunity to learn about other resources in the borough that might be particularly useful to your students, like mental health support services, help accessing primary care, places to get benefits advice, and links to further learning.
In addition, it’s a good chance to meet other like-minded people who are working to help support the community, and we have a small token of our appreciation to thank you for all of your work!
For more information, please see our eventbrite listing: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/esol-tutor-meet-up-tickets-31411944973
Joyce had a stroke several years ago and has written a book about how it has changed her life and what helped her regain her health. She is keen to get online and promote her book online, but she had some questions about how social media could help her.
With a techy helper, Joyce learned more about facebook and twitter. She learned the difference between your twitter followers and the people you follow on twitter, and she learned more about facebook: what is a timeline, what is someone’s wall, and how to use ‘likes’ and ‘emojis’ in addition to comments. Joyce also learned how to upload photos and videos into facebook and twitter posts.
At the Techy Tea Party, Joyce commented on a friend’s photo on facebook, and she wished her brother happy birthday on his wall. Joyce said, “It’s exciting to be on facebook”. Joyce says she aims to keep going with facebook and that it was good to learn that you can use facebook for your business. She was keen to look at how various charities use social media, such as the Stroke Association and Community Connections, and she says, “If I need to learn the business aspect of facebook I will – It’s worldwide!” Joyce’s longterm aim is to use social media to promote worldwide awareness of strokes.
Community Connections continues to help coordinate pop-up Techy Tea Parties across the borough as part of the Go On Lewisham initiative. Techy Tea Parties connect older people with volunteers in a fun atmosphere to help answer questions about the digital technology that older people have in their homes. Participants bring mobile phones and tablets, and volunteers offer teas and coffees, cakes and solutions to the participants’ IT problems.
These photos show a Techy Tea Party held at Conrad Court in north Deptford, which had a wonderful turnout of people who live at Conrad Court, local residents in the surrounding area, volunteers from the Pepys Resource Centre and My Complete Focus, and even a mini-Councillor surgery with Councillor David Michael! Topics that participants sought help with included: what can the internet be used for, youtube videos, online shopping, and how to connect to wifi.
For more information including where to find the next Techy Tea Party, please contact the Community Connections team on email@example.com or phone 020 8314 3244.