Campaign 2 - Blog #2 !
It's the penultimate week of campaign 2 and I thought I'd give you all an update on what's been happening down here in Torquay! My campaign hasn't been progressing quite as planned... I've had real difficulties finding volunteers which has resulted in me having to go it alone with the campaign, and as a result of this I've felt unable to hold an event without the support and help of any volunteers. So I've had to problem solve somewhat and find ways I can still tackle the issues the campaign is based around in my community and raise awareness and hopefully make a difference.
One of the main things that was raised in the focus group and which I formulated as one of my recommendations was that older people in the community do not have access to information about what social groups, clubs and activities are taking place. This is completely understandable as trying to get hold of this kind of information without the access to the internet which all of us younger people now take for granted but which the majority of elderly people do not have is incredibly difficult - I've had enough difficulty trying to get hold of this information even with the internet! As this issue was so important to all of the older people I spoke to at my focus group I decided that, instead of trying to organise a one off event on my own I would focus my energy on providing the older people in the community with this much needed resource. So after hours of searching the internet and numerous emails and phonecalls I managed to put together a list of the social groups and clubs that run in the area for older people. I was actually surprised at just how many brilliant clubs and activities there are for older people in this area - so many churches, charities and organisations run really valuable services for older people which give them the chance to socialise, leave their homes and take part in a variety of activities which is brilliant. The problem is that so many of these are run by small organisations and groups without the resources to widely publicise the work they're doing, and it proved pretty difficult to find out about them myself, so I really feel that this kind of information is bridging the gap between the excellent services they offer and the older people who would like to take part but aren't aware of them.
The next step was to get my leaflets printed which I did last Friday, and I now have lots of boxes of leaflets ready to be distributed! I'm going to try and get them out to as many places as possible where older people will see them - the AgeUK offices for this area, local charities that work with the elderly, doctor's surgeries, libraries, day centres, the existing social groups and clubs and sheltered accommodation. Today I made a start with delivering leaflets and visited the local AgeUK charity shop, a day centre for older people and a local charity called folks@home that offers a range of services to isolated older people. All of these places took lots of my leaflets and it's great that this resource is getting out there into the community. Over the rest of this week and next week I'll keep delivering and hopefully reaching as many people as possible to make them aware of the opportunities to socialise that are available. If even one or two older people join a new group or club as a result of my leaflets and through this become less isolated it will really make a difference. Tomorrow I'm taking a load of leaflets to the group of older people who were my focus group, and I'm really looking forward to showing them that their needs were listened to and their suggestions were taken on board.
The other exciting thing which has happened with my campaign recently is that I approached local radio stations to let me come on and publicise the campaign and raise awareness of the issues, and today I was interviewed live by local station Riviera FM who kindly let me publicise Team v and talk about the issue of loneliness and isolation amongst older people. I spoke about the general issue of loneliness amongst older people in the UK, the specific experiences of this by local people which I've been made aware of through this campaign, and what people can do if they want to help out and make a difference, by getting involved with the campaign to end loneliness and by volunteering with local charities who work directly with the elderly in the area on things such as befriending projects.
So for the moment I will be carrying on my leafleting and also distributing the awareness raising postcards provided by V, and will update soon on how that's all gone! :)