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Combatting Loneliness and Social Isolation services in Norfolk - Overview

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Community Action Norfolk are sharing this from Norfolk County Council please contact them directly with any queries. 

Combatting Loneliness and Social Isolation services in Norfolk - Overview 

The impact of loneliness and social isolation is significant. To tackle this problem, Norfolk County Council adult social services, is investing in ways of preventing and reducing loneliness that address the barriers to people having the quality and quantity of social connections that they would like.  
 
There will be a focus on building resilient, robust and connected communities as a means of supporting people who are isolated, lonely and facing risk factors and challenges which if not addressed will mean that they are more likely to need formal care of health services.  
 
A multi-layered approach to tackling loneliness and isolation in Norfolk   Three organisations, Community Action Norfolk, The Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk and Voluntary Norfolk, were selected through a formal process to deliver a multi-layered range of interventions to tackle loneliness across Norfolk. This will include:   

  • Life-connectors and peer supporters working one-to-one with people who need a bit of help to overcome life challenges and to build personal confidence and resilience.
  • Using local knowledge to run outreach projects to identify, engage with and target the most lonely and isolated
  • Identifying community groups and assets, including the untapped skills and talents of isolated people. 
  • Addressing isolation through building the capacity of communities to develop activities, groups and projects at a local level. 
  • Building on existing volunteering services (where they exist) to provide positive volunteering opportunities for friendship and to help people develop a sense of purpose.  
  • Addressing access needs (e.g., rural) through community transport and digital solutions 

Some interventions are aimed at directly supporting individuals, whilst others have a focus on enabling communities to build their resilience and ability to develop own solutions.  

Life connectors 

The life connector roles are one part of this wider approach which is specific to tackling loneliness. The role involves:   

  • Providing a coaching role supporting people to develop personal plans that identify their strengths, interests, goals
  • Providing practical advice 
  • Supporting people to develop coping techniques
  • Supporting people to make and maintain relationships including connecting / reconnecting with family, friends
  • Supporting people to take first steps to connecting with their community 

Principles of the services 

All interventions, whether focused on the individual or community will be outcomebased, strengths/asset-based, preventative and maintain individual independence. 

Outcomes 

It is expected that the services will have a positive impact on the quality of life and physical and mental health of people who have been supported by the service, for example:  

  1. The individual’s health or wellbeing has improved following the help and support that they have received.
  2. The individual feels better able to deal with their long-term health and has access to any support groups they may want or need to access.
  3. The individual feels more confident in accessing or participating in desired activities.
  4. The individual has been able to achieve the agreed goal(s) they wanted to achieve through the support that they have received.
  5. The individual feels more confident in using technology to access information or advice, or for keeping in touch with their family and friends.
  6. The individual would like to/ is more likely to volunteer for a local group or organisation. 

Through these outcomes it is expected that people supported by the service will have reduced feelings of loneliness, evidenced by:  

  • feeling content with the quantity or quality of their friendships and relationships
  • having enough people they feel comfortable asking for help at any time
  • having relationships that are as satisfying as they would want them to be 

Eligibility 

The service/s can be accessible to adults aged 18+ where loneliness is the most immediate issue affecting their wellbeing.     
In practice people’s needs may not be clearly identified. Feelings of loneliness and isolation can be symptoms of other challenges being faced (such as long-term health conditions or debt). Alternatively, feelings of loneliness can cause health and other issues such as depression or self-neglect for example. Therefore, the loneliness and social prescribing services will work together closely to assess the most immediate needs of the individuals referred ensuring the principle that there is no wrong door for local support. 

Accessing the service/s

A key feature of the combatting loneliness services is that they are public facing and open to self-referrals. Self-referral can be made by: telephone, Web form or via contact with workers at outreach events. The telephone and website details are below.  
Professional referral routes (health, social care, other providers) will differ according to locality arrangements. Please contact the relevant lead provider for details. Professional referrals can be referred direct in each locality via the Early Help Hubs in addition to seeking advice via the contact points below as required.  

  • Better Together - Led by Voluntary Norfolk, covering the Clinical Commissioning Group areas of: Great Yarmouth, Norwich, and South Norfolk.  Professional contact: Kevin Vaughan
  • CAN Connect - Led by Community Action Norfolk, covering the Clinical Commissioning Group area of: North Norfolk. Professional contact: Freedom Duma.
  • Lily - The Borough Council of King's Lynn and West Norfolk, covering the Clinical Commissioning Group area of West Norfolk.  Professional contact: Rebekah Bentley Mills