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/media/community-projects/library/embrace-website-header.jpgBased in Worcestershire, Embrace supports 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 is one of four pilot areas across England. The initiative aims to support parishes and communities to develop local services to address and reduce social isolation 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.


At the end of the two-year pilot, CSAN will use lessons learnt 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 the larger national goals, Embrace focuses on supporting older people in the Worcester Deanery, connecting them more strongly to their local communities and enhancing their sense of belonging.

In the initial stages, Embrace contacted parishes across the Deanery to see what support was already in place and what was needed to meet any demand. A key focus of Embrace is to support existing services, groups and individuals to do more. This could be supporting them to set up telephone befriending or a lunch club, helping recruit more volunteers or getting referrals to their service. The resulting services are different in each area, according to the needs of the people living there.

Since it began, Embrace has made contact with four parishes and begun working with them to determine how they can be supported. In each area the project aims to create a sustainable model of support rooted in the community that tackles loneliness in older people and encourages them to reconnect with their local area.

Embrace visits Pershore's flower farm

In the first year it strengthened links with CSAN and regional Caritas organisations, sharing information and good practice. It built links with other faith-based organisations and groups in the Worcester Deanery, engaging with parishioners and the clergy. It recruited a team of volunteers who are trained and supported. And it organised events, such as a trip for older people to the Confetti flower farm near Pershore (pictured).

Embrace offers the chance to make a difference locally and nationally, and enables Father Hudson’s to reach out to support more people in need. It also ensures that the services that develop are rooted in and tailored to the communities they will serve.

To find out more, contact Chris Watkins, community development officer, on 07387 109661 or e-mail

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