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Launch event for befriending project a roaring success

Jill Hendry, Paul Caine and Emma Moraitis

Residents from across Cumbria gathered to celebrate the launch of a new programme which supports people in vulnerable circumstances.

Electricity North West, which operates the region’s power network, is supporting Homelife Carlisle’s new Community Neighbours project.

The firm awarded the agency more than £80,000 to ensure the scheme, which provides one-to-one volunteer opportunities linking volunteers with people who are experiencing loneliness and isolation, goes ahead.

Gathering at the popular Carlisle Tourism Centre, people of all ages were in attendance to learn more about the new programme and Electricity North West’s Priority Services Register which provides extra support to people who may be more impacted by power cuts.

Jill Hendry, engagement and partnership lead at Electricity North West, said: “I was delighted by the amount of people we had in attendance at the launch event including many volunteers from the previous project.

“The room was packed, and people were really interested in learning about the relaunch of the Community Neighbours programme.

“I’m really proud Electricity North West is playing a key role in this project. Partnership support is vital to the success of these schemes, enabling them to thrive and progress.

“I look forward to working closely with Community Neighbours and I am certain it will be a roaring success.”

Community Neighbours is a revamp of a previously successful befriending scheme in Carlisle.

Volunteers from Community Neighbours provide valuable support for those in need and will carry out tasks such as shopping, dog walking, provide 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.

Carlisle City Cllr Elizabeth Mallinson, Portfolio holder for Communities, Health and Wellbeing, added: “We’re pleased to support the Community Neighbours scheme. Their volunteers can support elderly or disabled people in several ways including, shopping and running small errands, accompanied walks, companionship 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 is recreating what worked so well in the past and by enhancing the project, they can 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.”

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 and to sign up, visit www.enwl.co.uk/priority or call 105.

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