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Connecting Carers across West Sussex

Loneliness Awareness Week – 14th – 18th June

This Loneliness Awareness Week is a time to talk about loneliness. Loneliness is something that may affect us all at some point in our lifetimes. However, research tell us that one is more likely to feel lonely if you are an unpaid carer.

Carers experiencing feelings of loneliness

Research before the pandemic reported that 35% of unpaid carers reported feeling lonely often or always compared to only 5% of the general population.* We know that this will have increased during the pandemic and will have led to many feeling more isolated and alone in their caring role and quite often excluded digitally.

Combating loneliness

As part of our response to this issue we have developed two new services to connect carers across West Sussex either socially or digitally. Our Connecting Carers service offers support to carers to help them access online services through our Digital Champions Service. We also launched our Telephone Befriending service “Check in and Chat”, which offers a regular social chat with a volunteer.

Both services are supported by Volunteers and to date we have matched 44 carers with a volunteer who regularly calls them to chat about their interests and hobbies connecting them again to the outside world. We have also supported over 50 carers to help them to access digital services and in some cases provided equipment to enable them to do so. The Digital Champions volunteers have then supported them to use the internet, do online shopping, set up email accounts, use Zoom to make video calls with family or to access services and support groups that are currently online.

One of our carers who has received a regular call from a volunteer recently said:

“The phone calls are something to look forward to. At least once a fortnight I know I am going to get to speak to a human. I feel more connected to people.”

and another carer who we supported to use emails said

"Being able to use emails is so important to me not only to keep in touch with my sister’s carers but also to stay informed about what is happening, groups and other communications."

We can support unpaid carers to feel more connected and less lonely in their roles by helping them to access online services or arrange for a regular social chat with a volunteer. If you know anyone who would benefit from either service or you yourself are an unpaid carer and want to find out more contact us at info@carerssupport.org.uk and we will help you to get connected.

#letstalkloneliness

* Getting Carers Connected Research Summary Carers UK 2019

Blog by Wendy Taylor, Volunteer Coordinator