Village groups launched to combat loneliness and isolation in communities

PUBLISHED: 12:00 13 July 2019

Rural Communications is working to tackle social isolation affecting communities in the district.Picture: Rural Communications

Rural Communications is working to tackle social isolation affecting communities in the district.Picture: Rural Communications

Rural Communications

Village clubs are being created to help improve the wellbeing of older people affected by isolation and loneliness.

An arts and crafts group has been set up in Wrington, and the Rural Communications project is encouraging people to take part.

The West Of England Rural Network's (WERN) project, funded by The National Lottery Community Fund, works to strengthen opportunities for older people to better connect with the communities they live in.

WERN is appealing for communities to come forward with suggestions for groups such as art classes, knitting circles, men's sheds and sporting activities which the charity could set up in North Somerset.

Village agent for WERN, Tina Huckle-Mills, said: "We eventually want the projects to be community-led, and would like to make villagers aware this scheme is really trying to get people involved in the areas they live in.

"It's all about bringing people together, and they can learn a skill and they make friends at the same time."

The National Lottery Community Fund announced last summer it would distribute almost £9million to support projects in the UK which work to reduce loneliness.

WERN was subsequently awarded £38,000 to go towards its Village Agent service, which is part of North Somerset's Community Connect service, run in partnership with Curo Housing.

The charity works to provide a resource for rural communities in North Somerset, as well as Bristol, South Gloucestershire, Bath and North East Somerset.

Tina continued: "Rural Communications is there to facilitate a community venue and fund costs for that activity.

"We have had three sessions in Wrington, and the venue has recently changed to the village Church of All Saints.

"We have around seven to eight members, which are all working towards knitting angels for the village angel festival in November.

"The more people in the community who get involved, the better it will be."

The Wrington group meets on the first Wednesday of the month at the church, in Station Road, from 2-3pm.

For more details about the project, visit www.wern.org.uk/rural-connections

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