From Isolation to Reconnection: A Blog from Carol Stobie, Project Officer, North Berwick Coastal Community Connections
Maximizing kindness and compassion around our community
What we do:
- Set up and managed by North Berwick Coastal Health and Well Being Association
- Tackling identified social isolation in the North Berwick area
- Supporting adults of any age to connect into existing opportunities and activities
- Helping find ways to overcome barriers to participation
- Receiving referrals from health professionals and community members – currently nearing 50 client referrals
- Funded for Year One by North Berwick Coastal Area Partnership, currently raising funding for Year Two – so far, awarded grants by North Berwick Trust and Lottery fund
- Nearly 90 Volunteer Community Connectors recruited throughout the area, with a flexible variety of roles – sign up for our Connectors’ mailing list here.
- Gatherings to make new friends and build confidence to take part in new opportunities
- Building stronger networks between existing groups and promoting opportunities available with them
- Creating new community listings service (web-based and printable) – sign up here.
- Drop-in at North Berwick Health Centre, 10.30-11.30 Mondays, and out and about during the week.
North Berwick Coastal Community Connections is the first project of its kind for the North Berwick area. It was started by North Berwick Coastal Health and Well Being Association, a volunteer-led organization.
Causes of isolation include chronic illness, accidents, bereavement, depression and anxiety, house move, family breakup, loss of employment, poverty and other challenges. It can happen to any of us at any time.
Responding to community-identified need to tackle isolation, the project takes referrals from GPs and other health professionals, but also from any community members who know someone at risk of isolation. If the person gives permission for their contact details to be shared, the Project Officer can follow up with them.
The project launch took place on 20 June 2019 and attracted 55 participants, with talks from local groups, a performance from the Abbey Gospel Choir and workshop activities brainstorming existing local activities and creating new ideas for maximizing kindness and compassion. 80+ locals have signed up as volunteer Community Connectors for the project.
Community Connectors are people who sign up as willing to help in some way. This could be chumming someone along to their first activity or group meeting; meeting for an occasional coffee; providing occasional dog-walking (or chumming along on a dog-walk); helping with our small gatherings to bring about new friendships. Contact Carol to join our Connectors’ list and find out the date of our next volunteer meeting.
Outcomes so far include bringing new people to meet one another at the Beacon Lunch in St Andrew Blackadder; making new friendships at our Scone Café gatherings (referrals through the Project officer); enjoying the new monthly Trad Music night at the Masonic Hall (contact email@example.com of North Berwick Pipe Band); assisting with applications for college courses and funding sources, housing assistance and appointments with their local councillor; matching dog-walkers with owners less able to go for long walks now, or needing to access activities where dogs can’t come along; chumming people along to summer Pop-Up Music events at Abbey Church; referring people to Upswing Depression Peer Support Group, North Berwick Man Shed and East Lothian’s only Cancer Support Group.
Scone Café Gatherings – small scale meetings for those who’d like to meet new people over coffee and scones. Every Monday at Abbey Church small Hall, 1-3pm. Run by our volunteer Connectors. Contact Carol Stobie to attend or help out.
Compassionate Communities is a new project we’ll be involved with. North Berwick Coastal Health and Well Being Association has been shortlisted to take part, developing ways to support people through terminal illness, bereavement and grief.
Interested? Like to volunteer, refer someone or take part in what we do? You’re welcome!
Contact: Carol Stobie, Project Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel. 07940 203380