Three charities have come together to launch an adult befriending service for carers, older people and those with mental illnesses or a learning disability.
Independent Age, Action for Family Carers, Mind in West Essex and Hamelin Trust are working together to promote their Essex Befriends service to help address loneliness and social isolation in the county.
Essex Befriends is run by volunteers and offers services including telephone befriending, face to face meetings in the local community, home visits, Skype calls, email contact and group activities.
With this in mind, Essex Befriends supports the United in Kind campaign to create a social movement that will raise awareness of loneliness in Essex.
Its KindTogether initiative, launched yesterday, uses social media to encourage Essex residents to pass on everyday acts of kindness, by packing someone’s shopping or volunteering their time to a good cause.
Julie Atkinson, Essex Befriends manager said: “Through kindness, we can develop meaningful connections within our community, as well as family and friendship groups, and through meaningful connections, we can combat loneliness.
“Loneliness can affect anyone at any time. Acts of kindness, even simple things like a neighbour picking up milk for you, can make us all feel more connected. If someone does something kind for you, think of how you can return the favour, or better yet – pass on that kindness to someone new. We can all be a part of strengthening relationships within our communities and tackling loneliness in Essex.”