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Emma Penfold

A community response to loneliness during Covid. Part 2: Kids Matter

One of the most common misconceptions about loneliness, is you have to on your own to feel lonely.  Many people feel lonely in a relationship or while spending time with family. It’s a normal human emotion. We’re biologically wired for social contact, and loneliness is our signal that we need more.

Kids Matter:

In Norwich, it’s not just neighbours who are growing community spirit.  A number of grass-root groups such as Oak Grove Community Church Kids Matter Parenting Programme, have taken on new approaches, going above and beyond to support local residents with practical help alongside connecting with others to reduce isolation.

When Covid arrived, family support worker, Lynette knew continuing to help families was essential.  Having been part of the community for many years, she understands its challenges, and as a mum herself, knows how difficult life can be without the right support.  Determined, Lynette shifted her Kids Matter sessions onto Zoom and introduced delivering care packages, with a difference.

Kids Matter1

All packed and ready to deliver!

In addition to much needed food basics, she always includes some treats, “it’s important our families know their worth, it’s not just about giving the basics.” 

Each week Lynette also designs a family craft activity with everything they need, as well as the all-important instructions! 

Alongside this runs a WhatsApp group bringing much needed connection and chatter to keep everyone going.  Loneliness can hit anyone, at any time, even when surrounded by family making connecting with others during Covid is more important than ever.

Lynette talked about one rather tech savvy mother, who struggles with such high anxiety levels, she rarely leaves the house.  With online support from Kids Matter, this mum embraced their Zoom sessions and is blossoming with new found confidence.

In addition to Kids Matter, Lynette is also manages their new telephone befriending scheme – Two’s Company.  Anyone feeling lonely in the local area can call for free on 0800 772 3556.  You’ll be match you up with a trained volunteer who’ll call once a week for a friendly chat.

What comes through when talking to Lynette, is her passion for supporting families and the local community.  “This isn’t just short term support during Covid.  When we’re through these hard times, we will still be here, alongside them as a friend, helping folk connect with their community.”

To get in touch with Lynette email: familysupport@oakgrovecommunitychurch.co.uk

 

Main image credit: Ben White Unsplasj