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Christchurch Community Partnership awarded £350,000 to support drive to stamp out loneliness

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A CHARITY which tackles social isolation has been awarded nearly £350,000 in Lottery cash after demand for its services shot up during the pandemic.

Christchurch Community Partnership (CCP), which was set up in 2011, offers a wide range of support to those without nearby friends and family.

Its volunteers collect prescriptions, deliver shopping and hot meals, and make weekly contact during difficult times such as bereavement or illness.

Christchurch Community Partnership runs a dial-a-bus
Christchurch Community Partnership runs a dial-a-bus

The grant by the National Lottery Community Fund will be used to appoint new staff members to support the growing number of volunteers.

The Rev. Sandra Prudom, who was recently appointed chief executive of the charity, having been its chair, said: “We’re delighted that our work has been recognised in this way.

“This funding means we will be able to support a much greater number of those in our community who are isolated, especially as a result of Covid, to reconnect to activities and services that will help them build friendships and improve their health and wellbeing.

“We know that loneliness is the cause of many physical and mental health issues, and our services benefit not just our recipients but also our volunteers whose loneliness is eased.”

Face-to-face services transitioned to virtual during the pandemic, with regular telephone check-ups made to the vulnerable, medication delivered to those in isolation and transport provided to support the vaccination programme.

Christchurch Community Partnership chief executive the Rev. Sandra Prudom
Christchurch Community Partnership chief executive the Rev. Sandra Prudom

Unable to host its usual Christmas day lunch last year, CCP instead delivered 60 festive meals and 100 hampers and miniature trees to those on their own.

Now restrictions have eased, the charity is supporting those needing assistance to get to lunch clubs and support groups, and helping those who have undergone lengthy isolation periods to regain their confidence by initially accompanying them to activities.

Historically, all the partnership’s projects and services were led and delivered entirely by volunteers, but as the workload increased throughout the pandemic it used some initial Lottery funding to take on part-time staff to manage the growing number of volunteers.The charity is now looking to make additional appointments and is inviting those interested in becoming trustees to come forward.

Referrals to CCP’s services are made by GPs, adult health and social care services, BCP Council and relatives or carers.

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