**Important update to East Lancashire Community Focus – Extended telephone service offer during Covid-19 pandemic #lookingafterlancashire**

Advocacy Focus has been providing a befriending service to people across East Lancashire for many months. With the recent pandemic, we have had to make some changes in the way we deliver services, however we will continue to deliver our East Lancashire Community Focus service via telephone and through our digital platforms. We understand that meeting face to face is not in the best interest of you or our team at this time and we have to follow government and Public Health England’s advice in the best interests of public safety.

Telephone Befriending Service

We are however, going to go one step further and extend our telephone befriending service across Lancashire. The service will now be open to anyone that is feeling lonely or isolated, or that may be experiencing anxiety about what’s happening in our country and the wider world right now. We know that many of you will be worried about the practical challenges of this situation, and we will commit to increasing our support to anyone in Lancashire that reaches out to us for some form of connection, at such a scary time.

All our staff and volunteers are working hard to minimise the impact of Coronavirus in our communities, and are supporting people who are undoubtedly anxious and worried about getting much needed essentials such as shopping and medication. Our service will not only provide a much needed connection and reassurance, it will help identify any practical support that you may need and signpost you to the right services or organisations during this difficult time. We are committed to supporting your wider health and wellbeing, and any anxieties you may have.

We understand that for some people, not having anyone to talk to regularly can be incredibly lonely and often scary, particularly if you live alone, are a single parent, or are used to sharing your home with someone. A friendly chat on the phone when you need it, can make all the difference to your day and your overall health and wellbeing. Advocacy Focus will be looking after Lancashire for as long as it takes.

If you or anyone in your communities needs this important befriending support and would like to access our Community Focus project, please get in touch with us and we will schedule a call-back with you as soon as is practically possible.

Refer for this service:

This is a befriending and support telephone line. Our team will offer much needed chat and conversation and can put you in touch with other services if you need them. If you are in crisis, feeling that there is no hope or are experiencing suicidal thoughts, please contact the Samaritans on 116 123.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

Would you like to meet new people, improve your self-confidence and esteem, build digital skills and access daily support? – then get involved with East Lancashire Community Focus today.

What is the East Lancashire Community Focus Project?

Do you live alone, feel isolated or don't feel part of your community? Then you could benefit from the support of a Community Focus Volunteer.

East Lancashire Community Focus, in partnership with Electricity North West, is a volunteer led programme available in Burnley, Pendle, Rossendale, Hyndburn, and the Ribble Valley. The scheme pairs people who feel isolated, or lonely, or who struggle to get involved in their community, with a volunteer who will create a bespoke support plan with you.

Tackling Isolation and Loneliness

Everybody gets lonely from time to time, however, if you feel unable to cope or feel extremely isolated, you could benefit from our East Lancashire Community Focus project.

One of our Volunteers will visit you and work with you to provide practical and social support. Our volunteers can be a lifeline for those looking for companionship and an opportunity to leave their homes and pursue their interests.

Our volunteers can also offer source some respite for people with difficult home lives, a break from family or a breather from caring responsibilities.

Our volunteers can:

• Provide one to one support and companionship
• Help you to become more involved within your community, meet new people and pursue your interests
• Devise a support plan to help improve your daily life
• Support you with appointments and accessing community groups
• Support you to improve and develop your digital skills
• If eligible, sign you up to the Electricity North West Priority Service Register to receive its benefits (see further information below)

How does it work?

Whether it’s someone to chat to over a cup of tea, or someone to help you do your weekly food shop, we will work with you to devise your individual support plan.

This can include things like:

• Face to face companionship
• Confidence building
• Support to access community events or activities
• Peer support groups
• Support to access health and social care services
• Referrals to other services

Who is this for?

If you are 18 and over, live in East Lancashire and feel isolated and lonely you could benefit from this service, especially if you:

• Live with a disability
• Have mental ill health
• Have children under five
• Live alone with little or no contact from family or friends

Anyone who feels lonely can refer for a Community Focus volunteer.

What is the Priority Services Register?

If you are elderly, are experiencing mental ill health, have care needs or suffer from a disability, you could benefit from joining Electricity North West’s Priority Services Register. Electricity North West own, operate and maintain the electricity network in the North West.

We rely on electricity to power our homes and our lives, but sometimes, if you are extremely isolated due to illness or disability, you may be unaware that this register exists to help you.

Working with Electricity North West, we will be helping people to access this register. The Electricity North West Priority Services Register is completely free and provides you with extra assistance via a dedicated welfare team in the event of a power cut.

Other benefits include:

• Free energy saving advice
• Energy tariff checks
• Password access – you can register your own password so that if anyone ever needs to visit you, you feel safe
• Support during a power cut – sometimes these can be planned or unplanned, as a member of the register you will be prioritised in the event of an outage
• Welfare support – if the power cut lasts a number of days, you can get additional welfare support such as hot food and drinks, blankets, flasks, telephones, torches and even alternative accommodation
• Access to the welfare team –you will have direct access to customer service experts who can help you get that little bit of extra support when you need it

Refer now

  • Refer yourself or someone you know now by downloading a referral form below
  • Ask your GP, social worker or healthcare professional to sign up on your behalf
  • Call us on 0300 323 0965 for more information or additional help.

Download our East Lancashire Community Focus Leaflet: