Older people in Bristol will get a boost to their wellbeing through an exciting new service that helps them connect more with their community.
Community Navigators Bristol offers free signposting and support to people who are over 50 and want to do more in their local area. The service aims to improve confidence and wellbeing and tackle loneliness through friendly, trained ‘navigators’, who make contact with older people, get to know them and share information on different things that are happening where they live. Whether it’s meeting people, becoming more active, rekindling old hobbies, volunteering or learning something new, the community navigator can point them in the right direction.
If the person needs extra support, the community navigator can come along with them when they try something for the first time. They can also support the older person with any concerns that they have about getting out and about – including safety, transport or money worries – by connecting them with other community and health services to tackle these problems.
The short term service, which launches in September, is completely free and available to people in their home or via phone appointments. It is funded by Bristol Ageing Better and run by a partnership of trusted local organisations combining their community expertise: Bristol Community Health and North Bristol Advice Centre (lead partners), Ambition Lawrence Weston, Avonmouth Community Centre, Barton Hill Settlement, The Care Forum, Shirehampton Community Action Forum, Southmead Development Trust and Southville Community Development Association.
“Loneliness is thought to be as harmful to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day – and according to Age UK there are 1.2 million older people in England who are chronically lonely”, says Laura and Gemma, the two Community Navigator Coordinators for the Bristol-wide service. “Connecting people with their community can give huge benefits to long-term health and wellbeing. We hope that through our network of local community navigators we’ll be able to transform the lives of people who are currently feeling isolated from their own communities.”
The service is also looking for volunteers to become Community Navigators – you’ll need to be able to dedicate a couple of hours of your time a week. If you live in North Bristol, please call Laura on 0117 9515751 for more details. If you live in Central, East or South Bristol, please call Gemma on 0330 838 2588 (local rate number)
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