People affected by loneliness and social isolation in Norfolk can now turn to a comprehensive range of new services for help and support.
Commissioned and funded by Norfolk County Council, the new services include a county-wide network of “Life Connectors” who work directly with people to provide coaching, practical advice and support to help people make and maintain relationships and strong links within their community.
Telephone and online support, advice and information is also available.
The services are provided to Norfolk residents aged 18 and over through:
- The Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk’s established Lily service. Formerly focused on supporting people in later life, Lily has now expanded to work with all adults in West Norfolk and Swaffham over the age of 18.
- The new Better Together Norfolk service by Voluntary Norfolk to support residents living in central, southern and eastern parts of the county.
- The new CAN Connect service by Community Action Norfolk, to support North Norfolk residents.
Speaking about the £2.4m services, Chairman of Norfolk County Council’s Adult Social Care Committee, Councillor Bill Borrett said: “I’m very proud that we are leading the way when it comes to tackling this big issue.
“This is another example of how, in spite of the significant funding pressures we are facing in Adult Social Care, we will invest in services that help our residents to live independent, healthy lives for as long as possible in stronger, more resilient, communities.
“They’re also part of our award-winning In Good Company campaign, launched two years ago, which has been recognised as best practice by the Government, Jo Cox Commission, Campaign to End Loneliness and Local Government Association.”
The new services include outreach, promoting volunteering opportunities and benefits, asset mapping and addressing rural issues such as transport and use of technology in order to support people to become and stay well-connected in their local area.
Health and social work practitioners can help people access the service, but residents can also refer themselves, for example over the telephone or online.
Jonathan Clemo, Chief Executive of Community Action Norfolk said “We are delighted to be part of this exciting initiative. Overcoming loneliness is about building strong connections between people, services and communities. Our CAN Connect service is designed to do just that, particularly with our Life Connectors who are there to give people that little extra help and confidence to get involved in a new activity, identify what is really important to them or find the answer to a problem they are facing.”
Kevin Vaughan, Health & Social Care Manager at Voluntary Norfolk said “We’re delighted to have the opportunity, through Better Together Norfolk, to extend the core work of Voluntary Norfolk and our partners, in working with residents to build communities and create connections.
“It’s through the strength of our partnerships, and by working together, that we can hope to achieve real social change, creating strong inclusive communities and ensuring there is #nolonelyday for our residents.
“Whether it’s calling the Better Together Helpline, meeting with a Life Connector or attending one of our community events, we aim to connect and value people, giving them a voice by ensuring that they are heard and offering a service that is focused on what matters to them.
Elizabeth Nockolds, Deputy Leader of the Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk and cabinet member of Culture Heritage and Health, said: “Being part of the ‘In Good Company’ initiative means we are able to provide an inter-generational service to help reduce social isolation across west Norfolk. The online LILY directory is being expanded to support access to a whole range of social activities and information for all adults over the age of 18. We have also expanded our LILY Adviser service which will mean people can have up to five one-to-one meetings with a Lily Adviser. This could provide help with identifying specific barriers, finding social activities that would help, or even attending an activity with someone.
“Reducing all types of social isolation can really help someone’s mental wellbeing and general health, so we are keen to reach out to people of all ages through our online and face-to-face services.”