Based in Northamptonshire, Brackley have been running a project for older people for the last five years. During these times the project has had to re-adjust to support their most vulnerable and isolated community members.
At the beginning of March with lockdown they were able to create support networks so that their project members could continue to receive support. A full phone network was set up and coordinated. They were able to distribute a large supply of books, magazines, colouring, cards, jigsaws and games in set packs which were rotated to members.
Some members had internet access so they created a Facebook on-line support group, checking-in each morning and chatting throughout the day (and often late into the night). The idea was to offer support, ideas, general chit-chat and to have a giggle. They hold regular FaceTime group chats too, as well as a weekly on-line quiz and ‘Brian’s On-line Bongo Bingo’ sessions.
Many members live on their own with no family locally, and so needed extra support. Local children drew rainbows for their windows, as well as writing letters to them. They also arranged extra support, through the local council in terms of food parcels, prescription collections and phone calls.
Food was an important part of the project. Starting with providing the odd home-cooked meal to ensure certain members were receiving good nutrition, they organised an Easter Luncheon where they all ate separately but together. This was followed by a VE Day Afternoon Tea and a Summer Garden Party. During this time they provided home cooked meals to nearly 60 members over 12 weeks during the worst restrictions. With the help of a local restaurant they are now able to hold a socially distanced drop in luncheon once a week.