Community Network's Bedford Project
In June 2012, Community Network received funding from the Bedford Borough Council's House of Industry, to run peer support telephone groups for older residents in their catchment, to reduce social isolation and improve mental health and well-being.
The Telephone Communities set up in Bedford worked with a variety of different people. One group was set up to provide peer support to carers over the telephone. Although the carers were connected to a carers centre, they benefitted from this form of support as they could take the calls from the comfort of their own home and connect with people who were in a similar situation. One carer said:
“The group was helpful because I knew on a Tuesday I could say: ‘This is how I’m feeling’ – and they would understand. If you got upset, it was OK.”
In addition to the carers group, the service in Bedford also set up groups through St Peter’s Church and Bedford’s Library service. One of Community Network’s oldest beneficiaries of 99 years came from the church group, and despite claiming that she does not go far from home now, Gwen relished the opportunity to share her many memories of the past.
“I have lots of happy memories… If you like to talk, a group like this is very good, and when you’re a teacher, you certainly know how to talk!”
The service has now finished in Bedford, but Community Network is hoping to build on the many positive relationships they have established with various organisations and individuals in Bedford. If you would like more information on the work Community Network has done here, please contact the office on 020 7923 5250 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.