Tilehurst Together is a new initiative run by Reading Voluntary Action which brings isolated people and those coping with anxiety and loss, together in a fun and mutually supportive environment where they can make friends and get involved in community activities. Longleigh, which gives grants to community projects that help vulnerable groups, has provided match funding for the £12,175, 12-month scheme awarded through our A Life Less Lonely funding.
The Tilehurst Together community project which is being run fortnightly at various locations around Tilehurst, will offer a range of special activity sessions aimed at bringing people together socially – from mindfulness and healthy eating activities, to creating window box vegetable gardens. Twenty sessions are planned over the year with around 60 people in the Tilehurst area expected to benefit from the project.
“Tilehurst Together is a fantastic initiative which we are proud to be supporting. Loneliness and social isolation can be seriously harmful to people’s mental and physical well-being, increasing the risk of death by around 30%,” says Sue Terry, Chair of Longleigh Foundation. “The problem is, many people who feel lonely or isolated can find the idea of going out to meet others quite daunting. The Tilehurst Together activity-based approach is a really good way for those feeling cut-off from the community to get to know other local people who may be in similar circumstances and gently build a support network in a relaxed and welcoming environment.”
The initiative comes at a time when government figures show that almost one in five (17%) older people in the UK are in contact with family, friends and neighbours less than once a week and 11% less than once a month.
“We are grateful to Longleigh Foundation and BCF for supporting this initiative,” explains Sarah Morland, Partnership Manager at Reading Voluntary Action. “The idea first came from discussions with Tilehurst surgery where doctors were keen to find additional non-medical support for patients. Loneliness can have a significant impact on physical and mental health. The aim of Tilehurst Together is to help local people make new connections and get involved with local activities to reduce their loneliness and improve their wellbeing. For example, we are planning to run regular walks – a great way to have gentle exercise while getting to know new people.”
She adds: “The programme will develop as group members come up with new ideas. Already, mindfulness has proved popular and has attracted people who are isolated by physical and mental health issues. We look forward to reaching out to many more people in Tilehurst over the coming months”
Longleigh Foundation’s match-funding follows a strategic partnership formed earlier this year with BCF which raises money and makes grants to local charities and voluntary organisations across the county.
Local people interested in joining Tilehurst Together activity sessions should contact Reading Voluntary Action on 0118 9372273 or email email@example.com.