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Stafford and Rural Homes | SARH reaches out to the isolated and elderly
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SARH reaches out to the isolated and elderly

A programme of events aimed at bringing together older people in Staffordshire who may feel isolated or alone has been launched at last week’s County Show.

Led by the area’s leading provider of affordable homes, Stafford and Rural Homes (SARH), ‘Be Connected’ will offer the chance to take part in a range of fun and free activities including arts, crafts, gardening and exercise classes.

Most importantly the programme of events, delivered in partnership with Stafford Borough Council, will provide an opportunity for people who would otherwise find themselves alone at home to make new friends and engage with the wider community, particularly those living in more isolated, rural areas.

The initiative is being driven by the latest recruit to the SARH team, Susan Cooke, who joined the housing association last month after 10 years working in the care industry. At the County Show she explained that many older people felt cut off from society, particularly when they retire or lose their life partner.

“Loneliness can have a huge impact on both physical and mental health and we hope this diverse programme of activities will help them to take the first steps towards building a new network of friends.

“The events will take place at SARH Independent Living Schemes across the area, but they’re open to anyone who may benefit, not just our customers, and free transport will be provided to and from their homes.”

The biggest challenge Susan faces is making initial contact with those who will benefit most from the programme, as they may currently have little connection with the outside world.

“We’d urge anyone who knows of someone who may be feeling isolated and alone to get in touch and help us to reach out to them,” Susan explained.

“We’ll also need volunteers to help out during the events, support which can also be very rewarding for those taking part. Full training will be provided and joining in with Be Connected provides an ideal opportunity for volunteers to help support their local community if they have a few hours a month to spare.”

Helping to support the launch at the County Show was Karen Armitage, SARH Chief Executive.

“We’re delighted to be leading this important initiative that fits well with our aim of building stronger communities in the areas we serve,” she said. “It will help lots of older people to re-connect with the wider community, make new friends and even develop new hobbies and interests which can provide a huge boost for their health and happiness.”

Over the months ahead, Be Connected will also include day trips to local attractions and anyone who would like to get involved, or knows of someone who may benefit, should contact Susan by clicking here, calling 0800 111 4554 or emailing getinvolved@sarh.co.uk.

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