Fighting loneliness in lockdown

We approach the end of our second month in lockdown, and maybe the end is now in sight. However, the road back to our old way of working is still a long one, and many restrictions will still have to be in place even after the current lockdown has lifted. One key issue we've been encountering across all our services during this time is of isolation and loneliness. This is, of course, not a new issue by any means – but the restrictions placed on us by 'social distancing' has amplified the impact of loneliness a hundredfold. Many in our…

FaithAction: Loneliness and the power of relationships

Our FaithAction team—a network supporting faith-based and community organisations across the country, hosted by LifeLine Projects—have produced a lot of research around loneliness and isolation in the past year. With the current lockdown situation bringing this issue to the forefront, Jeremy, FaithAction's Policy and Programme Officer, explores some of the ways we can respond to the growing tide of loneliness. Imagine the classic ice-breaker scenario: if you had to leave your house immediately, and could only take one thing with you, what would it be? Emergency situations, whether real or imagined, have a way of bringing things into sharp focus.…

BD CAN: Support and befriending for Barking and Dagenham

BD CAN is a partnership between the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham and BD Collective. LifeLine Projects are leading on delivering crucial services to residents of the Valence and Becontree wards, working with the support of LifeLine Church, Harmony Christian Centre, Bethel Christian Centre and Community Resources. As a locality, we have already helped over 100 households. Manisha, who is coordinating our work with BD CAN, gives us an update on the project. BD CAN provides a service to those who need support – this can be picking up medication, going shopping for food, charging electric keys, or just…

SW!TCH Minds: Engaging young people in new settings

Georgia, one of our Youth Workers, explains a bit about our SW!TCH Minds programme, supporting young people with their mental health. Usually, our team would be working with them both during and after schools; now, due to the lockdown, we've taken the opportunity to switch up our methods and reach out to them in new settings. If you had told me seven weeks ago that I'd be spending my afternoon walking around our local parks in the pouring rain, desperately trying to stand as far away from other people as I can, whilst still trying to engage with them... I…

Community: the antidote to COVID-19 isolation

Dear friends and partners across the statutory, voluntary, community and faith sectors, As the coronavirus crisis and lockdown continues, and our daily patterns of work have settled into a new norm, there are many positive things to take from what is a serious—and, for many, fearful—situation. It’s widely agreed that this will be a time of advancement in technology, medicine and science. The virus represents a particular attack on togetherness—community—seeking to plunge people into social isolation. But actually, I think it gives us opportunity to further advance what we at LifeLine Projects have believed and lived for the past 20…

What we’re doing: BD CAN

As part of the BD CAN, a borough-wide initiative co-ordinated by the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham and BD_Collective, we are helping the most vulnerable by connecting volunteer support with the people who need help. LifeLine Projects, along with other local charities and faith groups—LifeLine Church, Harmony Christian Centre, Bethel Christian Centre and Community Resources—have already helped over 44 of the most in-need local households with door-step drop-offs of food and care packages, medicines, top-up of electric keys, or simply a friendly phone call. We will continue to serve our community in this way throughout the crisis. We anticipate…

What we’re doing: Healthwatch Barking and Dagenham

Healthwatch staff have been pivotal in LifeLine’s response via BD CAN – co-ordinating the vital provision of food and medicines to those who are shielding, vulnerable or self-isolating. The team have moved from the usual face-to-face public engagement work to focus on engagement through various online and remote platforms as well as providing vital local health information to residents by: Keeping the public updated with the latest advice, including access to healthcare services and medicines, via healthwatch.bd on FaceBook and @healthwatchbd on Twitter, and of course, our website. Sending out updates to our members. Answering phone calls from the public…

What we’re doing: SW!TCH

Our Youth and Outreach Development Workers have proved very agile in adapting their interactions with the most vulnerable students to suit the current crisis! One-to-one mentoring has gone online and we’ve worked closely with schools to ensure safeguarding of students. The students we work with are those who are on the edge of school exclusion, involvement with serious youth violence, or those who have poor mental health. While students are sometimes struggling to engage, one very positive outcome from the current situation has been forming connections with the whole family. Mentors have been able to talk with parents, which under…

What we’re doing: FaithAction

FaithAction is the national network of faith-based organisations, hosted by LifeLine Projects. The FaithAction team have been active in a number of ways responding to the current health crisis. As well as working alongside other LifeLine colleagues locally in Dagenham and East London, they have also advised councils in other areas of the country on how the changes to everyday life has a particular effect on faith-based organisations and on religious practices. In central government, there is a recognition that faith and community groups play a key role at times like this. Therefore, FaithAction have been meeting with officials and…

Support LifeLine with purchases at Co-op

We're pleased to have been selected to receive sponsorship through Co-op's Local Community Fund for the third year in a row. The fund allows Co-op members to nominate a local cause to receive a donation of 1% of what they spend on selected Co-op products and services. In 2019, the fund gave £17m to over 4,000 local causes. If you're a regular user of Co-op, we'd love it if you'd consider supporting LifeLine through the fund! Already a Co-op member? Just log into your Co-op account and you'll be able to choose your preferred cause. Not a Co-op member yet?…

A call to outer-London boroughs: wake up to the danger of serious youth violence!

We've all seen the newspaper articles. The shock story about another young person whose life has been brought to an untimely end. At LifeLine, we've had to come to terms with the news that some of the young people on our own programmes have died. It's hard news to hear. And it's equally as hard to talk to a school who doesn't want to hear the message - that some of their students are in danger of becoming involved. Serious youth violence, as reported by the media, has focused on cities - London in particular. And inner-city schools have had…