Sally Muylders, Community Engagement Manager at St Clare Hospice
St Clare Hospice, is showing its support for Essex County Council’s ‘United In Kind’ campaign – an awareness-raising movement to help share vital information and resources around tackling social isolation and loneliness across the county.
First launched on 23rd September 2019, United In Kind aims to build on the great work that local organisations and community groups are already doing to address the growing issue of loneliness, which in recent years has grown to become one of the nation’s biggest health risks.
According to a report published in 2018 by Age UK, the number of over-50s experiencing loneliness is set to reach two million by 2025/6 – a 49% increase in 10 years.
The council’s United In Kind campaign provides an opportunity for local organisations offering services which address social isolation to promote their events and activities under the umbrella of a wider social movement. It is hoped that this will increase collaborations, amplify messages, and support greater communication between providers to help inspire and connect local people to work together to end loneliness in Essex.
“When we first heard about United In Kind, we knew we had to take the opportunity to get on board,” says Sally Muylders, Community Engagement Manager at St Clare Hospice.
“One of our four strategic aims at St Clare Hospice is to encourage our communities to become more resilient and support each other. This is because we know that when people are facing a life-limiting illness, coming to the end of life or even experiencing bereavement, the chances of social isolation can increase dramatically. In fact, bereavement is one of the leading causes of loneliness in the UK today.
“We’re already doing a lot of great work to address this issue within West Essex. From running the Compassionate Neighbours project through the Hospice, to hosting seven Bereavement Café events in the area – as well as a number of social support services led by our Day Therapy team, such as Café Clare and our Carers’ Group. It’s all about connecting people to each other, and connecting people to their communities so that nobody has to face death or dying alone.
“However, we know that there is more to be done, and we believe that by engaging with a wider campaign in the county, we’ll be able to continue building on this momentum we have. We’re proud to be a part of connecting our communities with kindness!”
The United in Kind team are encouraging citizens and local organisations to ‘do something kind today,’ to help make a difference to how connected local people feel within their community – building on connections with each other to help tackle loneliness and social isolation.
Whether it’s sharing a smile, giving up your seat for someone, picking up the milk for a neighbour – the United in Kind movement aims to strengthen relationships within communities. People can join the initiative in their local community through a range of different volunteering opportunities with St Clare Hospice.
They include: becoming a volunteer for its Compassionate Neighbour scheme or for the St Clare’s Café Clare group, which offers patients the chance to meet others socially, in a relaxed and friendly environment, for coffee and cake.
To find out more visit the St Clare Hospice website