A coalition of organisations based in Hampshire have been awarded £566,000 to trial new innovative approaches to Tackle Loneliness with Transport.
As part of this joint bid, the Good Neighbours Network, the county’s thriving community support programme has received more than £160,000 to develop an electric bike delivery service designed to help people stay in touch with their friends and the communities they live in.
Funded by the Department for Transport’s ‘Tackling Loneliness with Transport’ initiative the year-long pilot programme will see volunteers who are both young and old delivering essential items such as food and medical prescriptions to local people who are known to be living alone and who may find it difficult to get out. The e-bike approach not only reduces harm to the environment, but on a more practical footing, means volunteers can travel further, carry more goods and support more people.
The GNN project, called GO TO, in effect, provides a solution to two issues. First it ensures people have ready access to food and medicines and second, it means they can be in regular contact with a trained volunteer who can keep a gentle eye on them, share the occasional cup of tea or even do a small odd job.
The programme, which kicks off this Summer in Hayling Island, Emsworth and Hartney Wintney is a valuable extension of the work carried out by the 4,000 GNN volunteers, who between them delivered more than 166,000 ‘acts of kindness’ to people across Hampshire, last year.
Long term loneliness can have a major impact on physical, mental and emotional health and as well as the impact it has on individual, loneliness has broader implications for communities and society. People who are lonely are more likely to visit the GP more often, have longer stays in hospital and are more likely to enter residential care and suffer from long term health issues such as diabetes, depression and stress.
GO TO project lead, Gambol Parker said, ‘This is incredibly welcome money at a time when we know so many vulnerable and often older people are really struggling to recover from the impact of the pandemic and are now facing a cost of living crisis. Just a simple visit delivered with a smile every few days can be a lifeline to people who may go for long stretches without even talking to someone else. It is going to be a worthwhile example of the community spirit that GNN is so celebrated for and we are delighted to be working in partnership with the other organisations involved in the bid’.
Notes to editors:
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Karen Jordan GNN Lead E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gambol Parker CSR E: email@example.com
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