Wycombe Wanderers Sports & Education Trust (WWSET) have this month concluded a successful 6-month campaign called ‘Doorsteppers’ which has proved to be a runaway success, providing over 1,000 hours of support in the local community.
Over the last six months, the Community Health team here at WWSET have provided support for local people during the Covid-19 pandemic. Our experienced team of caring individuals worked with 16 organisations including the local Mental Health Support Services, Buckinghamshire Council and the National Lottery Community Fund.
The project focused on four main areas: improving mental health amongst our most vulnerable adults, reducing social isolation and loneliness, increasing physical activity and increasing confidence about returning to ‘normal life’.
We engaged with 40 individuals from the High Wycombe community and provided over 1,092 hours of support in total. This support came in the form of face-to-face doorstep visits that were socially distanced to all government-mandated standards, walks, phone calls and even a text message service too!
Loneliness can affect anyone regardless of age or background. At WWSET, we have always been struck by the number of people who also feel they have no one to rely on or turn to in a crisis. Millions of people across the UK feel this way, according to government polls last year. This, of course, shows the need for organisations like us to step in when no one else can.
To really tackle loneliness, we must be satisfied with our relationships and interactions, and quality is key. Simply talking or being with people is not automatic protection against loneliness – living with others or being in regular contact with people where relationships aren’t that meaningful can make things worse.
Our ‘Doorsteppers’ initiative gained excellent feedback from the people who took part. “It has been a lifeline through the coronavirus lockdown as I live alone and have PTSD”, one participant said, “and to have contact with someone who is understanding and supportive either for a phone call or walk has massively helped my feeling of isolation.”
Another participant said of the Doorsteppers: “I definitely feel less lonely and I enjoy my talks with Georgia weekly, it makes me look forward to my evening when I am most lonely.”
The results of a Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scales (WEMWBS) Questionnaire, which is a way of measuring of mental wellbeing in the general population and the evaluation of projects, programmes and policies which aim to improve mental wellbeing, found the following:
- 92% felt more cheerful for the Doorsteppers project
- 69% saw an increase in feeling better about themselves
- 85% increase in being able to feel closer to other people
- 77% increase of people feeling better connected to their local community.
Are you living with loneliness or social isolation, or do you know someone who is? We may be able to help you connect with your local community and meet new friends with one of our sessions across a diverse array of initiatives.
Drop us a line at email@example.com to see if we can help!