NHS Charities Together to fund projects solving loneliness across Cornwall

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Royal Cornwall Hospitals Charity (RCHT Charity) has been awarded over a quarter of a million pounds from NHS Charities Together, to support projects dealing with social isolation and loneliness across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

The £267,320 funding will be shared between projects from Penzance to Bude, with Penlee Family Project, Eden Project, Exercising for Mobility, Pengarth Day Centre, Home Start Kernow, First Light South West and St Petrocs using the grants to solve social isolation.

Participants in a Exercise 4 Mobility class in Bude lift their dumbbells

New mothers, young people and the older generation across the region will benefit from new or expanding initiatives over the next two years.

RCHT Charity worked alongside Cornwall Partnership Foundation Trust Charitable Fund and in partnership with seven community partners to bring the funding to the Duchy. 

According to the Campaign to End Loneliness, loneliness can increase the risk of death by 26% and be as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. These projects are vital to help tackle loneliness.

Karen Murrish, Fundraising Manager at RCHT Charity, said: “We take great pride in channelling this funding into Cornwall, specifically targeting projects that address loneliness and its broader effects. By investing in these local initiatives, we aspire to create a ripple effect of positive change, fostering stronger, more connected communities – creating real change to the people in our county.”

NHS Charities Together is the national independent charity caring for the NHS. It works with a network of NHS charities across the UK to help the NHS go further for staff and patients.

Ellie Orton OBE, Chief Executive of NHS Charities Together, said:

“We are thrilled to be supporting people across Cornwall and helping to tackle loneliness in the region through this funding. We hope this extra support we will make a real difference to their lives and help to ease some of the pressures these NHS services are under as a result of the pandemic.” 

About the projects

One project receiving funding is the Penlee Family Project C.I.C., which will receive nearly £16,000. To set up a new peer support group for new mothers in the Camborne area.

Kim Parker from the Penlee Family Project said: “Our Fourth Trimester group will provide both peer to peer and professional support. The group wants to help new mums feel less isolated and help to alleviate their concerns and worries by helping them build connections with other mothers and access evidence-based information from experienced practitioners. Over 200 families have told us they need a safe, supportive, and nurturing space for new parents.”

A group of four people, the team from the Penlee Fourth Trimester Group

The Pengarth Day Centre, in Penzance, will receive over £43,000 to provide a Community Buddy who will link up patients and services across Penwith.   

Sharon Mitchell, Manager of Pengarth Day Centre, said: “Our Community Buddy will give those living in social isolation the helping hand they need to live a more fulfilling life and enjoy what our community has to offer.”

Exercising For Mobility (E4M), based in Bude, will receive over £14,000 to provide more transport to bring older people from more remote villages in the area to fitness sessions.

Some of the E4M service users describe how the sessions help them make new friendships, bring a happy family vibe, and benefit the community by keeping people fitter and needing fewer medical visits. 

Home-Start Kernow will receive a total grant of just over £50,000 over two years.

Jo Scrimgeour, Chief Executive of Home-Start Kernow said: “We are delighted that this funding will enable us to offer support to many more families across Cornwall, building community connections, peer-support networks and reducing isolation. We are looking forward to working closely with colleagues in the specialist parenting service to offer tailored support for both parents and children.”

First Light, a charity supporting anyone who is experiencing domestic abuse of sexual violence, will receive just over £50,000 to launch of a new initiative, their Primary Care Outreach & Recovery project.

Mel Francis, Director of Domestic Abuse Services at First Light, said: “This project will provide ‘crisis to recovery‘ support for people presenting within primary care services who are affected by current or historic domestic abuse and/or sexual violence. The project will alleviate pressure on existing NHS frontline services, providing support for healthcare practitioners, helping to reduce the ‘revolving door’ of patients because of poor mental wellbeing and substance misuse due to unidentified and untreated trauma.”

Cornish charity St Petrocs, will receive nearly £40,000 over the two-year period for their ‘Rebuilding Networks of Trust’ project, which aims to provide wellbeing and engagement sessions for people who have experienced, or are currently experiencing, homelessness in Cornwall.

Lois Wild, Director of Engagement at St Petrocs said: “This will have a significant effect on the lives and wellbeing of people experiencing homelessness in Cornwall and will help us in our mission of ending homelessness for good.”

A group of four people - the team from St Petrocs

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Industrial action by junior doctors is expected to take place this week, from 7am on Saturday See our news article for more information.

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