A unique partnership scheme to tackle loneliness and isolation among older people during the coronavirus pandemic has won a grant of almost £10,000.
The ten-week project - led by the Age Concern charity, with The Point Eastleigh arts centre delivering the creative element - will aim to ease the anxiety and worry of people who may be self-isolating due to the risk of COVID-19 infection.
The project, titled ‘Call and Create’, will see arts professionals associated with The Point encourage the participants, many of them vulnerable, to create a story, poem or song based on their life story and interests. To ensure safe distancing this will take place thorough a series of phone calls. As well as providing welcome social contact, the project should provide a distraction from the worries caused by the coronavirus crisis. It may also help other people in a similar situation.
To begin with, 30 households will be invited to take part in the project, which is backed by £9,800 in funding from the Government’s Coronavirus Community Support Fund and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Longer term, The Point and Age Concern hope that the artists and the older people taking part will be able to meet in person, forging unique and special relationships. The two organisations will be seeking new funding to develop the programme further.
The initiative feeds into the key aim of The Point operator, Eastleigh Borough Council, to promote healthy communities: there is strong evidence that taking part in creative activities and alleviating loneliness both have a very positive effect on wellbeing.
The Council’s Cabinet Member for Health, Councillor Tonia Craig, said: “Loneliness can have a serious impact on the wellbeing of older and more vulnerable people and, for many, the situation has been made worse by the coronavirus pandemic. Age Concern and The Point have done brilliantly to secure this grant and this really imaginative project should help alleviate feelings of anxiety among some of our isolated residents.”
Artistic Director at The Point, Sacha Lee, said: “This will be a fantastic opportunity for The Point to work closely and in collaboration with Age Concern Eastleigh in reaching those vulnerable residents in our community who will be able to benefit from a regular dose of creativity and connection. The positive impact of the arts on people’s mental health is needed even more at the moment, and this is just the beginning of a project that we hope will be rolled out more widely.”
Find out more on The Point's website