Support on offer after Corby is classed a loneliness hotspot

Generic pic of lonely man.
Generic pic of lonely man.

A service offering support to people suffering from social isolation in Corby will be launched next year after the town was classed as a loneliness hotspot.

A new in-depth study published today (December 8) from the Co-op and British Red Cross reveals that almost a fifth of the adult population in the Midlands are either always or often lonely.

Corby has been identified as an area where people need support and, from 2017 for two years, the Red Cross will provide direct, personalised support for up to 200 people experiencing loneliness or social isolation in Corby.

Across the UK, staff and volunteers will deliver new services in 39 locations, reaching 12,500 people nationwide.

Community connectors are specialists in providing emotional support and companionship, safeguarding and supporting people experiencing loneliness and social isolation.

They and their teams of volunteers will provide up to 12 weeks of intensive, person-centred care - identifying relevant activities, interest groups and services in Corby to help people gain confidence.

The community connectors will support the work of the existing support at home service in Northamptonshire by helping people identified as being at risk of chronic loneliness.

Justin Prescott, operations manager for independent living for the British Red Cross in Northamptonshire, said: “Corby has been chosen as one of the locations for our new Co-op funded community connector service as it’s an area we’ve identified as having gaps in support.

“Our community connectors will recruit a team of volunteers, who will work with each person to agree goals towards regaining confidence and independence, and provide practical and emotional support to help them achieve these goals.

“This is a crisis we cannot ignore, but if we come together it’s also a problem we can try to solve.

“Our research shows that life transitions are key triggers for loneliness.

“We need to focus on these moments and work together to help those suffering from loneliness and social isolation, by responding quickly and helping people to recover once they’ve hit crisis point.”

Richard Pennycook, chief executive of the Co-op, said: “We already know that aging can be a risk factor for loneliness but this report clearly identifies how ordinary events in life, have the potential to disrupt our social connections and can lead to individuals becoming lonely.

“This rich insight clearly shows that there is a role for businesses, individuals and community groups to play in preventing and responding to loneliness.

“Having identified the trigger groups we can act much earlier to prevent loneliness potentially becoming a chronic issue for many.

“It is clear that a lack of support for community groups, can leave those experiencing loneliness with limited options to re-establish social connections.”