Support Northamptonshire completed a 4 year Big Lottery funded Connecting Communities programme meeting all the outcomes and exceeding specific targets. In particular:
- The targeted Welfare Benefit and Debt advice for BME communities reached over 3000 people and achieved additional benefits of nearly £3.5m for people.
- The Good Neighbour programme demonstrated how to recruit and support volunteers to deliver informal support to people to prevent needs escalating. During 2017/18 we had 49 volunteers. 55% over 50 years, 43% retired. 75% women, 27% not white British and 7% disabled, matching the demographic profile of our locality. In addition, we recruited and trained 44 volunteers for a Community Network, the Homeless Forum substantially exceeding the target of volunteers by 50%.
- The volunteers providing one to one support have on average supported at least one person. Using SN’s outcomes framework we aggregate the data on groups of people supported and on average people moved up 1 point on the 6-point scale for Engagement in the Local Community, for Good Emotional and Mental Health and for Being Engaged and Active. For the indicator Enjoying and Achieving, people moved up 2 points on average, demonstrating success in achieving positive outcomes.
- The Community Network programme showed how to set up networks of support led by volunteers – we supported 4 Community Networks.
- The Affordable Warmth programme practical support for the most vulnerable, increasing awareness of energy costs, and how to keep homes warm and safe. We reached over 3000 households, Supported 167 people, held nearly 30 advice sessions.
The Home Project
The Home Project aimed to support people who are at risk of homelessness and helps them to sustain their tenancy and promote independence. The project provides resources and advice to assist people with the housing process and everything that comes with it.
The Zoom Choir
Set up in November 2020, the Zoom Choir offers service users and volunteers the opportunity to come together on a weekly basis to meet as a community and sing. Led by our professional Choir Director, the choir aims to facilitate a coming together of people in the local area to enjoy an energetic 45-minute session of music and fun.
Over 50 volunteers support the Homeless Forum. The new Night Shelter started in 2017 and going from strength to strength with incredible support from all sections of the community and providing a shelter for over 18 people.
In time the forum aims to provide client support for people with complex needs and work with agencies to influence housing policies and resources.
Golden Years Network
A new group launched to tackle the problem of loneliness and isolation among older people. The group is aimed at giving older people the chance to take part in a range of social groups and activities to reduce loneliness and isolation. The Community Network Co-ordinator is in the process of applying for funding to help make a difference to people who have nobody to help them get out regularly.
Meg said: “I worked alongside the Wellingborough district nurses as part of my nursing training and I was truly heartbroken with how many people were cut off and isolated from the everyday world which was having a detrimental effect on their health and well-being.”
Widow and Widowers Network
A social group set up by two women who were widowed found that it was important to meet other people in the same situation. They found that widows and widowers were especially isolated because they would have relied on their partners for company and can suddenly find themselves alone and facing isolation.
The group now meets for weekly lunches, organises trips and social gatherings and members of the group volunteer to support people in need of friendship.