A specialist programme which supports people in vulnerable circumstances in Cumbria has been awarded a five-figure sum from the region’s power network operator.
Electricity North West is supporting Homelife Carlisle after awarding the agency over £80,000 for its Community Neighbours scheme.
Community Neighbours has been set up to provide one-to-one volunteer opportunities linking volunteers with people who are experiencing loneliness and isolation.
The programme, which is a revamp of a previously successful befriending scheme in Carlisle, will also link with Electricity North West’s Priority Services Register (PSR), a free service which provides extra help for those in need during a power cut.
Jill Hendry, engagement and partnership business lead at Electricity North West, said: “We are delighted to be working with Carlisle City Council’s Community Neighbours team providing valuable support to residents, this project will benefit hundreds of people in Carlisle.
“This partnership will provide the opportunity for both Electricity North West and Homelife Carlisle to reach out to a high number of people in the city.
“Partnership support is becoming more vital by the day, without it, it’s difficult for schemes like this to thrive. Our funding is allowing a successful older scheme to be revamped and provide more opportunities to access support for people who need it.”
Volunteers from Community Neighbours can provide valuable support for those in need and carry out tasks such as shopping, dog walking, companionship and help with activities or hobbies.
Homelife Carlisle, an integral part of Carlisle City Council, provides specialist support and advice to elderly and disabled people, as well as those on low incomes, for maintaining, adapting and improving their homes with a focus on energy efficiency.
Cllr Elizabeth Mallinson, Portfolio holder for Communities, Health and Wellbeing, added: “Community Neighbours volunteers can support elderly or disabled people in several ways including, shopping and running small errands, accompanied walks, companionship, dog walking and appropriate assistance to enable them to participate in activities or hobbies of their choice – at home or out in the community.
“Working closely with Electricity North West, the scheme will help recreate what worked so well in the past and enhance the project to support people in an even more effective way; helping both volunteers and people accessing the project for support help reduce fuel poverty and encourage energy efficiency.”
Community Neighbours will be officially launched on Friday, February 14, at a special event being held at Carlisle Tourist Information Centre. People are being invited to attend from 1-3pm where they can learn about the new scheme.
Attendees will also be able to find out more about Electricity North West’s free PSR service.
Those on the PSR will benefit from advanced notice of planned power cuts and in some instances can offer practical items such as torches and hot food and drink. In the event of a power cut they will receive prioritised and enhanced communication throughout.
To find out more about the Community Neighbours scheme, visit www.carlisle.gov.uk/homelife
For more information about Electricity North West’s Priority Services Register, visit www.enwl.co.uk/priority or call 105.