Operation No Cold Shoulder – tackling loneliness and social isolation in targeted areas of Norfolk

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Click here to read information on the status of Community Action Norfolk's Services. As well as links to other information and advice
This website uses cookies. You can read more about how we use your personal data in our Privacy Notice

COVID-19 has had an impact on how charities support people, with many changing their approach to fit in with social distancing and shielding advice.  A project that combats loneliness and isolation in Norfolk has adapted swiftly in the way it operates. 

Operation No Cold Shoulder is run by a partnership of Norfolk charities including Age UK Norfolk, Community Action Norfolk (CAN), Creative Arts East, Future Projects, and West Norfolk Befriending. Funded by the National Lottery Community Fund, and running until March 2021, it offers free support to people in Dersingham and North King’s Lynn in the west of the county; Swaffham and Litcham in mid-Norfolk; Thetford, Fakenham and surrounding villages; and Mile Cross and Thorpe Hamlet in Norwich. 

Jackie Cushing, CAN’s Locality Manager says: “We feel the support on offer is particularly important during the COVID-19 lockdown.  Many vulnerable people are having to shield themselves to keep safe and this can have an impact on their emotional wellbeing, leading to feelings of loneliness and social isolation. Operation No Cold Shoulder provides support that includes free creative arts wellbeing packs for people aged 18 and over, and free telephone befriending for people aged 60 plus.” 

“We can’t engage with people face-to-face as we would in normal circumstances, so we’ve adapted how we provide support. And the message we’re sending out is ‘Are you – or someone you know in the community – feeling lonely or isolated?’”   

Free creative wellbeing arts packs have been developed by Creative Arts East for people aged 18 and over. These postal packages contain creative arts activities to try at home, including music-making, crafts, movement activities and more. Age UK Norfolk is providing telephone befriending for those aged 60 and over; a friendly conversation with a befriending volunteer, once a week, can make a crucial difference to someone’s sense of wellbeing and inclusion. And West Norfolk Befriending is matching people, aged 60 and over who live in west Norfolk, with a volunteer befriender who will phone to ease their isolation.   

Pippa May, Chief Executive of West Norfolk Befriending said “At this difficult time it is really good to be able to offer a telephone befriending service through this funding”.

Community Action Norfolk is also helping some of the grass roots community groups of volunteers that have emerged to help their neighbours during the COVID-19 crisis.  

"We have an existing well-established Good Neighbour Scheme network in many communities across Norfolk, and if groups wish to join the network we can provide them with support, advice and training including how to manage volunteers effectively, keep everyone safe and how to promote the work they are doing" explained Jackie.

"We can also help with practical things like getting a mobile phone for the group and insurance. So, if groups want to keep going after the current crisis, we’re able to provide support for them to build on their amazing work and develop into a group for the longer term providing practical support in their community.”   

To enquire about the free creative arts packs call 01953 713390 or email [email protected]. To ask about telephone befriending support from Age UK Norfolk call 01603 785223 or email [email protected]. And call 01553 763500 or email [email protected] to enquire about being linked with a volunteer befriender in West Norfolk.

Find out more about support and advice for community response groups by calling 01362 545024 or email [email protected]