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West Norfolk charity needs your help to tackle isolation in care homes




A Lynn-based charity has launched a new initiative which aims to help tackle isolation among elderly people living in care homes.

West Norfolk Befriending has set up the scheme, known as Care Home Connectors, after receiving a £46,000 National Lottery Community Fund grant.

And it is hoping to secure further sponsorship in order to expand the scheme beyond the initial two years financed by the grant, which is drawn from local lottery ticket sales.

Care Home Connectors co-ordinator Amanda Tickner, left, with Downham Grange’s activities coordinator Tracy Nicholls and Downham Grange resident Cornelia Longhurst who has enjoyed visits from Amanda. (28832310)
Care Home Connectors co-ordinator Amanda Tickner, left, with Downham Grange’s activities coordinator Tracy Nicholls and Downham Grange resident Cornelia Longhurst who has enjoyed visits from Amanda. (28832310)

The charity is currently working with four care homes – Downham Grange in Downham, Burman House at Terrington St John, Fridhem in Heacham and Goodwins Hall in Lynn.

But officials say there has also been interest from other homes in the area who could benefit if sufficient additional funding can be obtained.

Project co-ordinator Amanda Tickner said: “Residents referred to us are assessed and matched with one of our volunteers.

“After an introductory meeting they agree whether to continue with visits. Visits, usually a chat over a cup of tea, take place once a fortnight, for up to 90 minutes.”

More volunteers are also being sought to work on the scheme and join the 45 who are already supporting the charity.

Mrs Tickner said: “Some volunteered because they had lost a loved one, still had their health and mobility and wanted to give something to the community.”

Tracy Nicholls, Downham Grange’s activities co-ordinator, said: “It’s an amazing scheme to support residents who might not have family members or friends living locally.”

The charity is also planning to expand the project, in conjunction with Friend in Deed and West Norfolk Carers, in the homes it is currently working with.

Friend in Deed will be hosting “Little Visitor” sessions with mothers bringing babies and young children to engage with residents.

West Norfolk Carers will be leading sessions to support partners and relatives of care home residents, signposting information and services to help them.

Anyone interested in getting involved is asked to visit www.wnbefriending.org.uk or contact Mrs Tickner on 01553 763500.



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