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Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Wednesday 08 June 2022

Brighton-Based Volunteers Give Thousands Of Hours Of Support Ahead Of Loneliness Awareness Week

Loneliness charity Together Co, which is based in North Road, provided more than 17,800 hours of support to people in Brighton and Hove over the last year. 

By promoting the power of human connection to reduce the stigma of loneliness, 538 volunteers gave a staggering amount of time to people in the city who had reached out for help or were referred through other organisations. 

The charity has released these figures ahead of Loneliness Awareness Week, which runs from June 13th – 17th, to highlight the need for creating connections, and believes that in a city of 300,000, no one should be alone. 

Together Co's befriending service matches people with people to create friendships, while its social prescribing service provides connection and support. 

Befriending referrals came from people experiencing acute loneliness and the charity made 28,651 contacts with people through face-to-face visits and telephone calls, between April 2021 and March 2022. 

The Social Prescribing team ran 4,986 sessions with 1,301 people during 2021/22, and link workers made 2,867 referrals to other agencies. The team also trained 14 buddy volunteers. 

Charles Curwain, 63, from Hove, was at breaking point when he approached Together Co to ask for help. 

He had given up his career to care for his husband Martin following a cancer diagnosis, but lots of medical appointments and difficult decisions left him struggling. 

Charles said the social prescribing service, and his Together Co link worker Mary, helped to bring a sense of order to his world. 

He said: 

"Mary was very clear that we would do whatever was right for me. She was somebody who just listened, she instilled a sense of hope and strength.  

"She got the balance right on being therapeutic but also helped with some practical stuff and I needed that balance." 

Charles is now volunteering in a community garden and also improved his health, self-esteem and wellbeing through walking with Albion in the Community's neighbourhood health squad. 

Sofie Franzen, Together Co's Chief Executive Officer, said: 

"It is widely known that the pandemic affected people unequally, with those with support structures doing much better than those without.  

"Isolation and loneliness are more widely recognised as the pressing public health issues that they are and that is why Loneliness Awareness Week, and talking about the work we do to combat loneliness, is so important." 

Together Co is partnering with businesses in Brighton and Hove throughout June, which will be donating a percentage of their profits from certain products to the charity, including The Well, in St George's Road, Kemp Town, which is brewing a beer called Lonely Palm. 

For more info CLICK HERE.

by: Mike Cobley



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