An extra care housing development in Clapton Common known for its high quality apartments and health and wellbeing activities for the over 55’s is combatting loneliness and isolation with a new befriending initiative.
Hanover Housing Association has joined forces with the Compassionate Neighbours Project at Limetree Court to help bring joy to the lives of residents.
Based at St Joseph’s Hospice, the Compassionate Neighbours Project is a social movement rather than a traditional befriending project: volunteers receive intensive training that empowers them to bring compassion and support directly into the communities in which they live, the ultimate aim being to reduce social isolation and help communities become compassionate places to live and to die.
Among the first residents to benefit from the service are retired publican 85 – year – old Frank Foley and his partner 87 – Year – old Suzanne Ryland. Having been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease a few years earlier Frank made the decision to move from their previous flat in Stoke Newington as they were struggling to cope with limited space at the stairs.
He said: “Whilst we are very happy with our move to Limetree Court we left many friends behind at our old place.
“We have found the befriending service and the social activities provided by Hanover essential in helping us settle into our stunning spacious new flat.
Another example of friendships being revitalised at the estate includes Peter 58 and Silvia 71. The pair have been friends for over 20 years and thanks to being reunited at Limetree Court regularly enjoy attending exercise classes held at the estate and day trips to London thanks to a conveniently located transport links.
Joy Kahumbu, Compassionate Neighbours Coordinator, said: “With the rapidly changing demographics of east London, many older residents have seen their families die or move away and the communities around them change, often resulting in isolation. Many volunteers who become Compassionate Neighbours have been isolated themselves and they know that a cup of tea and a chat can make a huge difference to someone’s day.”
Nick Hodgeskin, Hanover’s, Assistant Director of Housing for Hackney and East London, said:
“Providing housing for older people is just part of what we do. In many cases family members and friends often live too far away to visit regularly.
Working with organisations like St Joseph’s Hospice helps us to provide valuable company and friendship as well as making sure the resident is keeping well.