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COVID-19 Update from Father Hudsons Care

Embrace

/media/community-projects/library/embrace-website-header.jpgBased in Worcestershire, Embrace was a two-year pilot project supporting older people who are experiencing loneliness and isolation.

The project began in January 2017, as part of a national pathfinder initiative led by Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN). The Worcestershire-based project was one of four pilot areas across England that aimed to support parishes and communities to develop local services to address and reduce isolation and loneliness in older people. Worcester was chosen to take part in the pilot as it has a higher proportion of people aged 65 and over than the national average, and this is expected to increase further.

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During its two-year tenure, Embrace worked with parishes across the Deanery. It began by seeing what support was already in place and what was needed to meet demand. The community development worker then continued working alongside parishes to to support them to find new ways to reach out to isolated elderly residents. Successes from the project included:

  • Srengthening links with CSAN and regional Caritas organisations, sharing information and good practice.
  • Building links with other faith-based organisations and groups in the Worcester Deanery, engaging with parishioners and the clergy.
  • Organising events, such as a trip for older people to the Confetti flower farm near Pershore (pictured below).
  • Working with parishioners to set up a friendship group. This group meets once a month, organises regular walks for local people and has set up a gardening project.
  • Organising a treasure hunt, which brought together people of all ages and backgrounds.
  • Setting up a Penpal scheme linking local primary schools and care homes. The scheme has allowed children and older residents to get to know each other and share experiences. It also offers a chance for the two generations to meet up from time to time.
  • ‘Talk to me Worcester’ – a ten week campaign that encouraged parishioners to organise activities that enabled them to get to know their neighbours better.

Embrace visits Pershore's flower farm

The community development worker is currently collaborating with the partner organisations to create a toolkit allowing the work to be replicated in other areas. The long term goal is to create a national network of Caritas caring parishes that can grow their own services for vulnerable people.

As well as contributing to the larger national goals, we are pleased to have been involved in a bringing communities closer and enhancing older people's sense of belonging. 

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