- not in such good health as you were?
- unable to get out as you used to?
- wishing you had someone to talk to?
- finding the days rather empty?
- fed up with the same four walls?
If any of these describe the way you’ve been feeling, Hodnet Compassionate Communities may be able to help.
Compassionate Communities schemes were developed by Severn Hospice as part of their community support strategy. They are now established in over twenty different locations in and around Shropshire.
Here in Hodnet, a representative from the Hospice was invited to address the Parish Council and the Patient Participation Group from the Medical Practice at the end of 2015 about the possibility of starting a Co Co scheme in this area, and a number of volunteers came forward. Training, DBS checks and the preparation of paperwork followed, with publicity being circulated during the autumn of 2016 as Hodnet Co Co declared itself “open for business”. Since then, a small number of volunteers have been visiting clients in Hodnet and the surrounding villages and rural areas.
Getting frail or living with a long term illness is not only physically debilitating, but can also lead to a person becoming socially isolated. Increasing numbers of people live alone, with no family members living nearby. Loneliness may, over time, lead to a crisis in someone’s health and well-being as they become increasingly isolated from those around them.
Co Co projects are local initiatives designed to tackle such loneliness and isolation, where residents support members of their own community. The foundations of Co Co are volunteers who undertake to connect with someone in their community for just a couple of hours each week.
It does not involve providing personal care, but rather companionship and a willingness to help someone to live their lives more fully in ways that are meaningful to them. This may entail, for example, reading the newspaper or playing Scrabble together, chatting about local events, occasional help with attending an appointment or getting to the local shop – anything the person and their volunteer agree might be helpful. Such regular contact has been shown to have beneficial effects upon health and well-being.
As such it’s not a service provided by an organisation, but what members of the local community decide to do for themselves. Referrals come our way through the local medical practice, via other community programmes where our publicity is displayed or simply through an individual making contact with us themselves.