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Vantastic project in drive to beat loneliness

Non-profit landlord Trent and Dove has moved up a gear in a quest to rid rural communities of loneliness and isolation.

Vantastic project in drive to beat loneliness

Corporate News, News

The organisation, which houses over 6,000 people across East Staffordshire, South Derbyshire and Northwest Leicestershire, today launched their ‘Coffee and Connect’ project which sees a bright orange Wellbeing Wagon drive into local communities offering free drinks and a chat. Thanks to a Healthy Partnership Grant from Support Staffordshire, the van will head into a different area one day per week for the next 12 months.

Residents can pop by for a free drink and the chance to collect information on local events, services and start new conversations with others in their area. The overall aim of the initiative, which launched during Rural Housing Week, is to reduce social isolation and loneliness. Being lonely can cut life expectancy by up to 15 years – equivalent to a lifetime of smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

David Riley, Head of Customer & Communities at Trent & Dove, said: “Before coronavirus, Britain already had another epidemic: loneliness and social isolation. Rapid changes to the ways we live, work and interact mean that four in ten UK adults now experience loneliness. It’s a 21st century phenomenon that particularly afflicts younger and older people, and those living alone or with illness or disability. The project is about connecting communities through coffee and conversations and sharing information about what local support is available in those communities.  We want to make a real difference to people’s communities and this project adds to our existing successful Befriending Service, which sees colleagues and residents trained to support those who are feeling isolated. Thank you to Charity Circularity and South Derbyshire County Council, for making this project a reality.”

One of the first residents to visit the van was Alz Coates, an involved resident at Trent & Dove, who resides in the rural village of Mayfield. Alz said: “Seeing the coffee connect van in our village was amazing. A lot of elderly residents came to say hello and have a chat and it was lovely to see them. I am already looking forward to next time they visit. Things like these are very much needed in rural areas especially for residents who are elderly and vulnerable.” 

Rural Housing Week runs from 4-8 July 2022 and this year, the theme is ‘levelling up in rural communities’.

Rural housing associations are the glue that holds communities together, delivering not only homes, but also services that are crucial to supporting their residents. The tailored development of rural affordable homes is essential for prosperous communities and has the potential to make an enormous contribution to the future of rural lives across the country and contribute to levelling up.

Residents wanting to know when the van is in their area can visit Trent & Dove’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/trentanddove

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