CANConnect - Combating social isolation and loneliness in Breckland and North Norfolk

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It's estimated that of a population of about 900,000 in Norfolk, the number of lonely or socially isolated people stands at 40,000. That’s about 4.5 per-cent. And it’s the impact of being socially isolated on the individual’s physical health and mental wellbeing that is of greatest concern.  

CAN is working with partner charity Future Projects in combating social isolation in the Breckland and North Norfolk districts of the county. CANConnect aims to help people connect with activities, events and other people in or near their locality, as well as providing individuals with one-to-one support in identifying and achieving their personal goals. 

CANConnect also provides support for the community itself, helping organisations and people make the places where we live stronger, friendlier, and more resilient. 

And to do this, the project needs volunteers. With their support individuals can access more of what their community has to offer, helping make the places where we live stronger, friendlier and more resilient. 

CAN’s Chief Executive Officer Rik Martin explains:

“This work has been commissioned by Norfolk County as part of a range of similar services across the county tackling the problems created by social isolation and loneliness across our communities. We are part of the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector and the sector does rely very much on the time and goodwill of volunteers to help us carry out the work.  

“Norfolk has a great history of volunteers stepping forward to help, not least during the Covid pandemic, where our Good Neighbour Schemes and mutual aid groups have seen a tremendous response from individuals who have contributed to supporting vulnerable residents in their communities. 

“Sometimes we could all do with a little support to help make life ‘click’. So we are asking anyone in the Breckland and North Norfolk areas, who may be able to offer time to help people on one-to-one basis, to get in touch.” 

Volunteers also benefit – by meeting new people, learning new skills and gaining experience in the voluntary sector. And being part of something that directly supports the community can make a real difference to people’s lives. CAN staff know the importance of volunteers being supported and will provide all necessary training.  

Anyone interested in volunteering can visit www.canconnect.org.uk and or call 01362 545020 to find out more.