After five years of tackling loneliness in Worcestershire, Age UK H&W’s pilot Reconnections service has been completed.
We are thrilled to have been involved in this pioneering approach to supporting older adults and addressing loneliness in Worcestershire and are grateful to all our supporters.
During the pilot’s lifetime, we have received over 3000 referrals and engaged with over 1600 older people. On average, clients received 6 months of support from the service.
Our incredible group of volunteers were vital to the success of the project, at any one time the project had 140 active volunteers who encouraged clients to regain confidence and reconnect to life. Volunteers also felt great benefits from being involved in the project, 100% of the volunteers surveyed in 2019 and 2020 would recommend volunteering for Reconnections.
Of the number of volunteers surveyed in 2020, the average length of support they had already provided was 12.5 months and within that time 93% of volunteers surveyed felt fully supported by the team. When asked, ‘to what extent do you feel that the things you do in your life are worthwhile?’ the average score was 8.26 out of 10 (Reconnections volunteer surveys 2019 / 2020).
One volunteer recalled, “he [the client] soon became mobile when he felt able to and commented to me on one of the visits ‘because of you, I went out’, this made my day.” After just three weeks of visits, another volunteer said: “Already we are out and about you can see the changes in her confidence. My reward is to see that lovely smile when she opens the door to me, what more could you ask for?”
We are delighted that the Reconnections pilot was seen as successful and that our commissioners have contracted a new expanded service across the county. The new loneliness service for adults (18+) in Worcestershire will be delivered by Onside Advocacy, visit their website here.
There has also been interest further afield. The charity Independent Age is leading two pilot sites in London and Surrey, so the Reconnections family is growing! You can follow their journey here.