Last Friday (08/02/19) CCB joined with colleagues from the Volunteer Centre West Berkshire at an event hosted by Richard Benyon MP called Beyond the Front Door: A Conference on Loneliness and Isolation. Over 90 people filled the Fair Close Day Centre, Newbury to discuss the causes of loneliness, how it impacts people from all age groups, and what can be done to reduce its impact. Our Chief Officer Tim Parry spoke at the event and was delighted to be joined by 3 people from different parts of West Berkshire to illustrate the different ways that community initiatives bring people together and sometimes provide the only opportunity people have for social contact. We are very grateful to Julie Noakes from Bradfield Southend Community Shop, Rebecca Barker from Mortimer Lunch Club and Pat Croysdill from Leckhampstead village Hall for giving their time to speak at the event.
Richard’s summary at the end of the event highlighted our desire to ensure that the event wasn’t just about talking about loneliness. Indeed, over 20 people stood up to highlight the role they or their organisation plays in addressing loneliness, to describe an issue that requires focus or to make an offer of support that they can provide.
From our CCB’s perspective, we want to encourage communities to do three things:
- Be alert to the signs of loneliness: keep an eye out for people who may be looking for someone to talk to
- Celebrate all of the activities and groups that bring people together: widely promote them to make sure they are well used and open to all
- Reflect on the range of activities that do take place: consider whether there are sections of the community less well catered for and make plans for new activities to address these unmet needs
Our door is always open to anyone from any community in Berkshire interested in this issue and wanting to explore further the opportunities to increase social contacts where they live.
Please find a video produced by That’s Thames Valley news who attended the event and compiled the following report: