Council’s wellbeing programme aims to tackle loneliness

By Ben Fitzgerald - 26 April 2019

CommunityPoliticsSocial Enterprise

Coffee and Connections, a council-run programme, is bringing vulnerable people of all ages together to tackle social isolation.

The six-week initiative, run by the council's Community Health and Wellbeing Team, allows vulnerable people of all ages to come together in a safe and comfortable environment to take part in activities and share stories.

It caters for people who are isolated and who would otherwise be stuck at home. It also offers people an opportunity to build confidence and make new friends.

The team focuses on promoting various aspects of wellbeing by encouraging attendees to eat well, get regular exercise and practice mindfulness.

Paula Nunnery, Community Researcher with the Health and Wellbeing Team, said: “Coffee and Connections revolves around the ‘five ways to wellbeing’, which are: connect, be active, take notice, keep learning and give.

“It’s a brilliant programme that really makes a positive difference to peoples’ lives and encourages them think about their own health and wellbeing.

“Despite the various health challenges they face, all the clients show a real willingness to engage and to take part in the activities.”

The team regularly hosts guest speakers to come in and speak to the group, which helps to broaden peoples’ horizons as they discover new interests.

One of the service users, Stephen Greig, has found the programme hugely beneficial. He said: “I enjoy it because it’s a good opportunity to speak to people. I find that it sometimes sparks ideas off in your head and you discover new interests.”

John Page has been volunteering with the Council for the past four years. He said: “People come here every week because it gives them the chance to take part in things they don’t do at home.

“I do this because I like to give something back to the community, and it’s wonderful to see everybody enjoying themselves and taking part in the activities.”

The clients are referred to the programme by the Council’s community navigators via their GPs.

When the clients finish the six-week course, they are encouraged to take up other activities to keep them focused on their own wellbeing.

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