Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Frome > the town trying to cure loneliness

Frome in Somerset is doing very well:
Futures Forum: Frome becomes Best Place to Live in the Southwest - again

And one reason might be the way it looks after its vulnerable people:
Futures Forum: Compassionate Frome project > "When isolated people who have health problems are supported by community groups and volunteers, the number of emergency admissions to hospital falls spectacularly."

This 'health' project has been attracting huge interest:
The Town that’s Found a Potent Cure for Illness - Community - Resilience 

Even from Canada:

As the conversation on how to tackle loneliness continues, the English town of Frome may provide some inspiration. The town of about 27,000 people, located 175 kilometres west of London, launched the Compassionate Frome Project in 2013. Volunteer “health connectors” assist ill or depressed residents with a broad range of support services — everything, George Monbiot wrote in the Guardian, from help handling house and banking issues, to facilitating exercise groups or writing workshops. The result has been pretty dramatic: Over three years, emergency hospital admissions in the surrounding area of Somerset have increased by 29 percent. In Frome, they are down 17 percent. That’s truly an example of killing the problems that can stem from loneliness with kindness.

Dealing With Loneliness: Is Being Lonely Making Us Sick? | Chatelaine

As the town's own website says: 

Community benefits our health: OFFICIAL

The excellent work of Frome Medical Practice and Health Connections Mendip and community groups such as Frome Men’s Shed highlighted has been highlighted today in the national press. Preliminary trials from a study published in Resurgence & Ecologist have indicated that when isolated people who have health problems are supported by community groups and volunteers, the number of emergency admissions to hospital falls spectacularly. The trial is an early indication and is yet to be submitted be to the medical journal for publication but the initial findings are startling: building a more passionate community benefits our health.

Frome Town Council help fund the Health Connectors to help people plan their own care, and most interestingly trained voluntary “community connectors” to help their patients find the support they needed. The aim was to break cycle of misery: illness reduces people’s ability to socialise, which leads in turn to isolation and loneliness, which then exacerbates illness. The health connections Mendip work closely with the practise and health connectors to help improve residents levels of connectivity.

It is excellent to see that the team are making a real difference to residents.

To quote George Monbiot ‘Frome has a buzz of sociability, a sense of common purpose and a creative, exciting atmosphere that make it feel quite different from many English market towns.’

To read the full article go to www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/feb/21/town-cure-illness-community-frome-somerset-isolation

To get connected with the health connectors go to https://healthconnectionsmendip.org

Community benefits our health: OFFICIAL - Frome Town Council

And earlier today on the BBC World Service, the project was featured: 

The Town Trying to Cure Loneliness

BBC World Hacks

Loneliness and isolation can trigger a host of other problems, particularly for our health. But a town in Somerset, in the United Kingdom, appears to have taken a big step towards alleviating the problem. A team in Frome has implemented a handful of simple ideas – getting people to talk about the problems they face and finding ways for them to re-engage with family, friends or social clubs – and they believe it is having a dramatic effect. The cost of emergency admissions in Frome has fallen steeply, while it rises across most of the UK. We visit the town to meet the ‘connectors’ driving the project, and the people they have helped.

BBC World Service - BBC World Hacks, The Town Trying to Cure Loneliness

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