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Weekly Edition - Publication date:- 2017-25-11

-en Southport & Mersey Reporter

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Eastham Connects to tackle social isolation

INDIVIDUALS and groups from all parts of a Wirral neighbourhood are looking to come together in a major new initiative aimed at tackling social isolation. The local constituency committee, elected members and community representatives are spearheading a project called:- 'Eastham Connects' which they hope will pull the south Wirral community closer together and work in a cohesive way to improve the wellbeing of some of the area's most vulnerable or isolated residents. The initiative was launched, on Wednesday, 22 November 2017, at the Delamere Centre, Delamere Avenue in Eastham. At the event, partners set out the basis for the project which they have detailed in a document called:- 'Eastham Connects Framework' and the invited guests had the opportunity to ask questions and make a pledge to get involved.

Cllr Chris Carubia, Chair of the Wirral South Constituency Committee, said:- "Eastham already has some great examples of groups and initiatives that bring people together with a number of valuable social assets and a community with a real sense of identity. However, even from this position of great strength, there is still a need to tackle social isolation issues that exist in Eastham.  Through Eastham Connects, we want to re-engage those residents who find themselves without regular, meaningful interaction. We want to remove any perceived barriers and we can only do this by drawing upon the obvious strengths and assets within our community."

Social isolation occurs when the opportunities that an individual has for contact with other people are either severely restricted or even non-existent. That person can then feel as though they are 'cut off' from society.  While for some people this is a choice they make, for many others the impact of social isolation can be profound, causing both physical and mental health problems. The Eastham Connects Framework explains a number of ways in which collectively they can start to make an impact into addressing social isolation, which includes:-

Working together to identify isolated individuals across Eastham and supporting them; helping to build their confidence and self-esteem so they feel able to reintegrate with local groups and activities they are interested in.
► Making it easy for residents to access activities on their doorstep. 1 of the ways this could be achieved is by staging a regular showcase event which allows local groups and projects to connect with local residents.
► Supporting local residents to set up their own groups if the particular activity they are interested in isn't already available in the local community
► Working with local health providers to ensure they are fully aware of what's on in Eastham so that they will be fully equipped to signpost their people to suitable local activities.

Cllr Carubia added:- "Social Isolation can affect all age groups, across all social strata and within all of our communities in Eastham. It has no boundaries. It is essential that it is tackled on a locally led basis with the community being at the heart of developing the strategy and being an equal partner in the delivery of agreed approaches and solutions."

The success of the Eastham Connects initiative could see the approach being used in other parts of the borough in future.


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