I’ll be there for you – friendly estate combats loneliness
20 July 2017
An Extra Care Housing development in Hackney, known for its high quality apartments and health and wellbeing activities for the over 55s, is combatting loneliness and isolation with a new befriending initiative.
Hanover Housing Association has joined forces with St Joseph’s Hospice to bring community befrienders to Limetree Court in Clapton Common as part of their efforts to help provide company for residents and enable people to get to appointments or local facilities.
Among the first residents to benefit from the service are retired publican, 85-year-old Frank Foley and his partner, 87-year-old Suzanne Ryland. Having been diagnosed with Parkinson’s a few years earlier, they made the decision to move to Limetree Court from their flat in Stoke Newington as they were struggling to cope with limited space and stairs.
Frank said: 'Whilst we are very happy with our move here, we left many friends behind at our old place. We have found the befriending service and the social activities provided by Hanover essential in helping us settle into our spacious and stunning new flat.'
Another example of friendships being revitalised at the estate includes Peter, 58, and Silvia, 71. The pair have been friends for over 20 years and, thanks to being reunited at Limetree Court, they regularly enjoy attending exercise classes held at the development, along with day trips to London via the conveniently located transport links.
Nick Hodgskin, Hanover’s Assistant Director of Housing for East London, said: 'Providing housing for older people is just part of what we do. In many cases family members and friends often live too far away to visit regularly. Working with organisations like St Joseph’s Hospice helps us provide valuable company and friendship, as well as making sure residents are keeping well.'
Joy Kahumbu, Compassionate Neighbours Coordinator, said: 'With the rapidly changing demographics of east London, many older residents have seen their families die or move away and the communities around them change, often resulting in isolation. Many volunteers who become Compassionate Neighbours have been isolated themselves and they know that a cup of tea and a chat can make a huge difference to someone’s day.'