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New funding to tackle loneliness and isolation
A telephone support network to reduce the loneliness and isolation often experienced by people affected by life limiting illnesses is to be set up thanks to a successful bid for funding.
Saint Francis Hospice, based in Havering-atte-Bower, will launch the new telephone service early next year to help patients, families and carers from across the four boroughs it serves cope better with their end of life experiences.
The project has been made possible after the hospice applied for the £366,682 grant from the National Lottery's Reaching Communities fund.
"We are absolutely delighted to have secured this funding from the National Lottery," said Laura Hill, Trusts and Grants Manager at the hospice.
"Saint Francis Hospice helps around 4,000 people every year affected by life limiting illness and we know from our surveys that patients, carers and families often feel socially isolated and lonely.
"This telephone service will give people a chance to make new friends and discuss any concerns they may have.
"At the same time we may be able to put them in touch with services that they are unaware of."
Tes Smith, Director of Quality and Care at the hospice, said, "This is an exciting opportunity for us to widen our reach to the local community and we are really looking forward to seeing how it will develop."
The hospice's latest initiative, which is expected to reach 600 people a year, was developed after consultation with patients, families and carers; this revealed that the charity needed to expand its existing service to provide more opportunities for social interaction.
The grant will also enable the hospice to set up a creative therapy group and provide lunches so people can get together, share complementary therapies, receive professional counselling and advice and enjoy social activities.