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Friendship found in Eccleshall
An award-winning Stafford and Rural Homes (SARH) project to tackle loneliness and isolation has been extended to a rural Staffordshire village with help from a local councillor.
Inspired by the success of the Marston Court Friendship Group in Stafford, part of a programme of events staged as part of the pioneering BeConnected project, regular meetings are now planned in Eccleshall.
The first was held in the village’s community centre and more than a dozen local residents were joined by Cllr Jeremy Pert who has supported the initiative with a £250 donation from a Local Community Fund.
Project Co-ordinator, Susan Cooke, explained: “BeConnected, and the Marston Court Friendship Group have proved a huge success, helping many people to get out and about and make new friends.
“Now we are able to extend the project to more rural areas where older people are particularly at risk from a range of health problems associated with loneliness.
“It also provides an ideal opportunity for volunteers with a few hours spare to help support their local community and the feedback from those attending the first event has been fantastic.”
BeConnected offers people who would otherwise be home alone the chance to take part in a range of fun and free activities including arts, crafts, gardening and exercise classes. Most importantly, it provides an opportunity to make new friends and engage with the wider community.
Councillor Jeremy Pert, County Councillor for the Eccleshall division, commented: “Loneliness and isolation can affect anyone at any stage and just having that friendly local support network there to help makes so much difference.
“I have been delighted to support the launch of the BeConnected project in Eccleshall, which is looking to engage across the ages and open for anyone to attend, as it can make such a positive difference to people’s lives. This is a perfect example of communities working together to help others in their community.”
Karen Armitage, SARH Chief Executive, commented: “BeConnected has proved a huge success and, we’re delighted Cllr Pert has lent his support to the project enabling us to help even more people, particularly in rural communities.”
The next Friendship Group in Eccleshall is due to take place on February 6 and then again on March 6 at the Eccleshall Parish Room in Church Street. To book a place or for more details contact 0800 111 4554 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.