Most people, young and old, feel lonely from time to time. This is normal, and even healthy. It can be a prompt for action, a reminder to make contact with other people and to create or reaffirm connections. Where it can become a problem is if people become isolated through circumstances beyond their control, and if feelings of loneliness become entrenched, or persist for a long time.
‘Feeling Connected’ is a partnership project led by Derbyshire Voluntary Action which aims to improve local approaches to social connectedness in Chesterfield and North East Derbyshire. Over the next 12 months, it will:
- raise the profile of the benefits of being socially connected
- raise awareness of existing services which support social connectedness
- identify interventions, initiatives and activities which help people to feel socially connected and which could be further supported and developed in North East Derbyshire and Chesterfield.
The first phase of the project was to better understand the ways in which local residents keep themselves socially connected and the challenges and barriers people experience which can lead to them losing their connections and becoming isolated. Using this intelligence, together with the learning and experiences of communities during the coronavirus lockdown, an action plan to support social connectedness over the coming winter has been developed. This will include support for informal volunteering, a campaign to nurture neighbourliness, and funding support for initiatives to address some of the key barriers people experience which stop them feeling connected.
See the minutes of the Feeling Connected Social Connectedness Action Group meetings here
View the presentations relating to the project here
View the Social Connectedness Action Plan here
View the Chesterfield overlay maps here
View the North East Derbyshire overlay maps here
For more information or to get involved In Feeling Connected in North East Derbyshire and Chesterfield contact Julia Cook: firstname.lastname@example.org
Debbie Fennell is the Social Connectedness Development Worker for the ‘Feeling Connected in North East Derbyshire and Chesterfield’ project. Debbie’s role involves working out and about in communities across Chesterfield and North East Derbyshire, supporting residents and communities to create and take up opportunities to be better socially connected.
Derbyshire Education Business Partnership
Derbyshire Education Business Partnership (DEBP), which specialises in supporting the aspirational decision making of young people to shape their future helping them to fulfil their potential, received more than £4,000 from the Feeling Connected Fund. Read more here .
EMH Care and Support
EMH Care and Support received help from the Feeling Connected Fund to provide additional support for adults with learning difficulties to gain independence by teaching skills about connecting with others online. Read more here .
St Thomas’ Church, Brampton
St Thomas’ Church in Brampton has benefitted from support from the Feeling Connected Fund, which has enabled them to deliver the ‘Time Together @thedoor’ project to give people the opportunity to meet up with others face to face to help avoid feelings of loneliness during the pandemic. Read more here .
Kakou is an engineering social enterprise based in Chesterfield who design ‘tech for good’. The organisation creates technologies that support and empower the masses. The word “Kakou” is Hawaiian for their value of inclusiveness. It means “all of us” and “we are in this together.” They received Feeling Connected Funding to support a number of projects to connect people and reduce isolation. Read more here.
The Feeling Connect Fund has enabled Ashgate Hospicecare to buy 7 tablet devices to create an IT equipment loan service for its community patients. The tablets are all set up with the most up to date software, apps and for those without broadband the sim cards they need to access virtual hospice support, wellbeing activities; and a way to connect with others to combat their feelings of isolation and loneliness. Read more here.