In December 2018 Care Network Cambridgeshire was awarded funding for 12-months by the National Lottery Community Fund and 3 years funding by South Cambridgeshire District Council, to support communities in taking social action against loneliness for their older residents. The project, named ‘Open Arms,’ also looks at measures which will help to prevent loneliness becoming a problem for elderly people in the future through intergenerational projects. We believe these are a vital way, to educate our adults of tomorrow, that not only can they benefit in their own personal development through spending time with older people, but become more aware of the impacts of old age and how this can lead to feelings of loneliness.

What we will do

In addition to intergenerational projects, Open Arms will work with local businesses and employees in public facing roles to identify and support older customers who may require support to improve their emotional wellbeing. For instance, a member of staff at a fish and chip shop or café may regularly see an older person on their own and wonder if they require further help with meeting others. We will provide training in guided conversations, as well as supplying businesses with simple literature listing local activities and services.

Open Arms will treat each community or neighbourhood on an individual basis. We will tailor our approach to meet the needs of local communities with no preconceptions about how they can improve emotional wellbeing for their older peers. Our role is to build confidence and facilitate the development of ideas by local residents, to support and encourage when plans do not develop as expected and to help turn ideas into action.

Within our intergenerational projects, we will facilitate long term relationships between old and young establishing two-way relationships, where both see the benefit of one another’s company.

Who we will work with

The Open Arms team will be working alongside Community Connectors and local residents by attending community events and taking simple literature that encourages people to talk their ideas through with us. Whilst our literature contains some ideas for engagement with older people our main focus will always be to encourage individual ideas and make them happen.

The project operates across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. If you have any ideas or would like to chat about Open arms and how to support your neighbourhood and community, please call us or email us on:

Tel: 0330 094 5750

Email: openarms@carenetwork.org.uk

For more information please contact: