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 helping out with any other essentials.

But in addition to this, we’ve also been offering a befriending service – a friendly phonecall to residents to see how people they are doing. While residents might not always take us up on the offer, we’ve found that when we do get to speak to them, they’re always very appreciative of the contact and just happy to have someone to talk to.

The conversations we’re having could be anything from an idle chat and a catch-up about recent TV shows to how they’re coping with lockdown and their health and wellbeing. In some cases, we’ve been able to refer people on to other specialist services to ensure they get the support they need.

At times, we’ve heard that our team will be the only person a resident has spoken to in a week or more, and yet they are reluctant to identify themself as actually being lonely. We know it can be hard for some people to reach out and ask for help, and there are some that might not consider it even an issue and just ‘keep on keeping on’ – but loneliness can affect any one of us, even when we’re surrounded by friends and family. In order to help these people, it’s so important to be proactive and communicate with those around you.

Help us help the community:

  • Pick up the phone and contact a friend or family member for a chat;
  • Drop someone you know a quick message over social media;
  • Strike up a conversation with your neighbours;
  • Say hello to someone you don’t know and ask how they’re doing.

You can be part of the solution by simply reaching out to someone – and if you think they need more support, pass on our details to them! And remember, a simple five-minute chat could be what someone needs to get through this difficult time.

Please note: This service is not for people who are receiving social care support already, or those who have had a letter from the NHS informing them that they are extremely vulnerable. There are separate support arrangements in place to provide this support.

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