The biggest issue facing vulnerable people in Kenilworth is loneliness and social isolation. A 2016 report from Age UK highlights that half a million older people go at least five or six days a week without seeing or speaking to anyone at all.
The Covid-19 support group dramatically addressed the needs of our vulnerable residents during the pandemic through a rapid outreach response programme that bought food, prescriptions and activities to the isolated residents of Kenilworth, using a large number of volunteers that had DBS checks and Safeguarding training.
Local businesses rallied around to support the group in a number of ways, providing meals, fundraising through coffee mornings and more. This support was vital in bringing services and friendly faces to the doors of hundreds of local residents.
Following on from the Covid-19 Support group, the trustees and other strategic partners are working together to bring people back out of their homes and into the community in a safe and supported way - creating the new “Compassionate Kenilworth” project.
Compassionate Kenilworth is aiming to maintain the connectivity and momentum that the charity has created through a partnership approach to address the inequalities that the vulnerable residents of Kenilworth are still facing as the area recovers from the pandemic.
The project will be steered by GP practices, social prescribing, town and county council officers, local charities and community organisations, churches and businesses. The project model is based on the “Frome Project” which CSKG has led to dramatic improvements in the health, welfare and well-being of residents.
The project’s outcomes:
1..Revise and maintain an up to date and relevant database of residents identified as vulnerable under agreed criteria - allowing secure access to identified partners offering support services or activities.
2.Create a live database of current social and health activities or support on offer that vulnerable people, GPs, carers, friends or family can access to refer individuals on to.
3.Co-ordinate with partners to share the large database of volunteers signed up to the Covid-19 group and disperse them across all community focused events and activities where needed.
4. Work with partners to continue monitoring the impact of the project as pilot to a wider Compassionate project being led by UHCW.
5. Working with partners to plug the gaps in the service provision if there’s a need.
How businesses can help - become a Compassionate Friend
Compassionate Kenilworth would love to see the whole town signing up to be a friend to the project.
No matter what you do, or how big or small your contribution, your business can be used to help strengthen the community whilst also benefiting directly from the support you offer.
Building strong and resilient communities helps businesses to bring in new customers as well as retaining old customers, supports the local economy by reducing the burden on public spending and creates a town that is attractive to visitors and new residents.
Supporting the community also increases employee wellbeing and productivity and builds awareness and reputation of your brand. It can even save you money if you are donating cash or unused goods! You may event benefit as the group raise funds and look to engage local services to run specialist events or support.
The Compassionate Kenilworth group is looking for a range of support from businesses, and is open to hearing your feedback on how you think you can help to achieve the overarching aim of reducing social isolation in Kenilworth.
As a starter for 10, here are some of the things we need to build a strong and sustainable foundation…..
- Display a Compassionate Kenilworth sticker or poster in the window and around the store to signpost customers to the wider project, and give away information packs to those who are interested
- Offer a space for communal conversation and connections
- Run special events or provide venue space that allow for intergenerational activities within your premises
- Offer a discount to encourage vulnerable people to come in to your shop and socialise
- Provide some extra time for customer service to create a connection
- Share you knowledge and expertise in specialist areas to support the operational function of the group:
- marketing - campaign design and coordination for digital and print, social media
- IT and Software - website and CRM database creation and management
- Finance - accounts and fundraising
- Administration - point of contact, steering group secretary, DBS checks and registration processes
- Legal - safeguarding, GDPR, Partnership agreements
- HR - paid employees and volunteers
- Events and Activities co-ordinator
- Raise awareness of the project with your local staff, customers and suppliers so they can refer people they know on to it.
- Provide health and wellbeing services pro-bono or at a discounted rate at community centres or within the home e.g. hair and beauty, arts and crafts, exercise, relaxation, mental health, dancing and music, intergenerational, trusted trades etc.
- Fundraising and sponsorship
- Staff volunteering (paid time off work) on projects
- Train to be Compassionate Connector - covering safeguarding and other soft skills you will actively identify and support individuals to connect them to the services they need
- Become a Trustee or Volunteer Coordinator - helping to organise and run elements of the operational function and bring the project together as a community
If you think you can help support the Compassionate Kenilworth Project in any way please get in touch with Rebecca Webb on firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you to Alison Phillips from Kindred CSR for representing Chamber at the May meeting.