As we mark Loneliness Awareness Week,
Re-engage is proud to celebrate its partnership with not-for-profit housing and care provider for people in later life, Anchor Hanover.
The partnership was launched earlier this year to find ways to alleviate loneliness amongst Anchor Hanover residents. Since then, residents have been offered the opportuntity to receive regular 'phone calls from a Re-engage volunteer call companion.
Anchor Hanover has over 50,000 housing and care residents across England, ranging in age from 55 to 105. During the country’s first national lockdown, the organisation found that over 13%* of them didn’t have the support of family or friends.
Meanwhile, ONS figures published last year revealed that those most likely to experience ‘lockdown loneliness’ include the over-70s and highlighted people living in rented housing.
Re-engage Chief Executive, Meryl Davies, said: “Working in partnership with Anchor Hanover makes perfect sense. Our organisations came together because of a shared concern about the impact of the pandemic on older people who live alone. We’re looking forward to seeing how the partnership develops as we continue to diversify and add new services to reach more older people in need of company and support.”
Jane Ashcroft CBE, Chief Executive of Anchor Hanover, said: “We’ve been working in partnership with Re-engage since February this year. We share similar concerns about the negative impact that social isolation and loneliness can have on those in later life, which has been intensified by the pandemic.
"This Loneliness Awareness Week, we’re pleased that our partnership means our residents can have access to Re-engage’s telephone befriending support service to help alleviate loneliness among our residents and improve their quality of life. We’re looking forward to further developing the partnership to help us further tackle loneliness.”
One Anchor Hanover resident, Cecilia, who’s 72 and jumped at the chance to receive regular 'phone calls, said, “I received a letter from Anchor Hanover saying I could have a Re-engage call companion and thought, ‘Why not?’ I was about to have a knee replacement and we were heading back into lockdown, so it felt like a no-brainer really. It’s so nice to have my own friend to talk to – the time just flies!”
Meanwhile, 85-year-old Ian, also a resident, said, “It means a lot to have someone to chat with every week. My family keep in touch, but it’s nice to talk to someone who isn’t in the family. It gives one the sense of being valued by society. The person who calls me has become a friend and I’m not someone who’s ever been particularly good at making new friendships. After the calls I always feel a sense of relief that somebody out there values my company.”
*As established via an internal audit across 46,000 housing residents.
Celebrating 50 years in Scotland
To celebrate our anniversary, our pioneering Area Organiser in Angus, Jean Malcolm, shares her experience of helping to build a flourishing Re-engage community there.
A volunteer on the challenges of supporting her group during lock down.
I remember my last tea party vividly – lemon drizzle cake, hot tea, loud chatter, laughter, plates being handed round, my toddler ‘entertaining’ people with what can loosely be described as singing. That was 14 months ago.