In her latest blog, Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator Rachael reflects back on a year of proactive outreach work from her home, the hundreds of interventions made to support older neighbours in Liverpool and what the future might hold for the network in 2021.
Over a year ago on the 13th March 2020, Liverpool Cares made the difficult decision to suspend our face-to-face programmes for the safety of our communities in the face of building news of COVID-19. Liverpool Cares quickly adapted to a new way of working to ensure that the strong, vibrant community our team and neighbours had built in the space of a year felt connected and supported in a very disconnecting and unsettling time
As an Outreach Coordinator, my first year at Liverpool Cares meant being out and about - now, as restrictions begin to ease, and some measure of normality begins to return for many people, I’m looking forward to getting back out into those communities. But with lockdown restrictions having been in place for a year, what happened when outreach went in?
As our face-to-face work ceased, and we were all told to stay home to protect one another, the way we conducted our proactive Outreach work changed very quickly. We’d usually be out and about, talking to older neighbours, healthcare professionals, foodbanks, local businesses and social housing providers… pretty much anyone who would listen! With this type of Outreach unable to carry on, instead we supported our older neighbours from our homes over the phone.
We were also committed to retain the strong relationships with community partners we’d built working in communities over the 15 months since Liverpool Cares first began. As well as reaching out to our neighbours we kept in touch with 151 community partners online and on the phone, sharing our Alone Together postal activities, online events and up-to-date news with them and their communities.
Our work in communities, whether it be face-to-face or over the phone can involve complex conversations and situations. During COVID-19, many older neighbours in Liverpool needed support for a range of issues, from accessing their pension credit to improving their mental health.
At Liverpool Cares, we’re able to make interventions which 'join the dots' and help neighbours get the advice and support they need.
From March 2020 – March 2021 we:
· Made 931 check in call interventions to older neighbours
· Made 60 food delivery interventions referrals to local organisations
· Made 105 referral interventions to organisations including food banks, mental health care providers and other supportive organisations.
· Introduced 153 Older Neighbours over the phone to the network
· Introduced 43 Younger Neighbours to the network online or over the phone
The reinvention of our Social Clubs saw the hosting of 130 Virtual Social Clubs online and over the phone, and through Phone a Friend 51 older and younger neighbours were able to form friendships with people they wouldn’t have otherwise met. Finally, our postal activity pack, Alone Together, helped us stay in touch with hundreds of older neighbours from afar.
As we move into another phase of lockdown with restrictions easing and vaccinations rolling out across the country, our outreach work will change again to adapt to the needs of our communities and to the lessons we have learnt. Therefore, our programme approach for 2021 will be one that blends both face to face and online activities, meetings and proactive outreach.
We’ll be looking re-engage our existing network of both younger and older neighbours with our activities, continuing to building one to one friendships over the phone and face to face as well as carrying out numerous interventions with older neighbours to help them feel safe supported, informed and visible as we all return back into ‘a new look’ society.
The next few months will bring excitement and apprehension for us all, but what we’ve got in this city is an incredible amount of spirit- one that remains positive and determined to make things better for our communities, no matter what 2021 brings.
If you want to get involved with Liverpool Cares then we urge you to get in touch with us by heading to https://liverpoolcares.org.uk/get-involved to sign up to volunteer, or calling us on 0151 659 1789 to find out more.
Posted by Rachael Treacher on Friday 7th May 2021
Rachael Treacher is the Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator at Liverpool Cares: she manages our community network of younger and older neighbours.