Register for free support in a power cut

Shirley Loveday, who explains how people can gain support in the case of power cutsShirley Loveday at UK Power Networks has guest authored today’s blog post. Shirley works for the Customer Vulnerability team, promoting the support that is available free of charge to vulnerable people in the event of a power cut. People with a wide variety of needs can access this support, including pensioners, families with young children, and people with special needs, disabilities or health conditions. Many of WaveLength’s beneficiaries live in these circumstances, and could benefit from this support. But it is only available to people who register. So if you would benefit from this support, or if you know someone who would, please read more below and sign up!

 

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Male Victims of Domestic Abuse

When we talk about domestic abuse, most people think about women being the victims, and men the abusers. And in the majority of cases, this is true. However, more than 40% of domestic abuse victims are male. In fact, it is estimated that 1 in 6 men will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime. Many male victims of abuse don’t know where to turn for help, so can be stuck in their abuse or end up homeless. However, there are some refuges that support and house male survivors of abuse.

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About WaveLength

WaveLength is a charity that works to alleviate loneliness across the UK. We give technology to people who are lonely and living in poverty to help them reconnect with the world. We support people with a wide range of different needs. These include illness, disability, old age, domestic abuse, homelessness, refugees, and many more. In this video, our Ambassador Kirsty Rose Heslewood explains a little more about who we are and what we do.

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Minister for Loneliness

Minister for Loneliness - elderly lady in a crowdThis week, Theresa May created the new role of Minister for Loneliness. The new Minister, Tracey Crouch MP, will continue the work started by the Commission on Loneliness, looking for ways to help alleviate loneliness in the UK. We think this is great news! However, there are some things that we want the Minister to be aware of as she starts her new role.

 

 

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Happy Christmas from WaveLength!

Merry Christmas from WaveLengthChristmas is nearly upon us, and with it comes the last-minute rush. There are presents to wrap, meals to cook, and journeys to make. But Christmas is also a good time to think about everything that you have achieved over the past year, and all the things that you are grateful for. At WaveLength, we are grateful for you – our supporters. Thanks to you, there are thousands more people around the UK who will be less lonely this Christmas.

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Tackling isolation in cancer patients

A young smiling man, cancer and CLIC SargentThroughout 2017 we have been working with CLIC Sargent to help young cancer patients cope with the challenges of illness and treatment. Spending time in hospital can be scary and lonely – particularly for people who are transferred to hospitals far from home. It can also be difficult for their families as they visit and offer support. To help these patients and their families overcome the loneliness of their circumstances, we have developed two projects with CLIC Sargent through their outreach work and their Homes from Home.

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£33,000 for survivors of domestic abuse

Survivors of domestic abuse using WaveLength tablet computersThere are a number of stages to fleeing domestic abuse. First, the victim must plan their escape. They may need to research nearby refuges, or contact friends and family to tell them what is happening. Second, they flee. For some people, this means moving in to a domestic abuse refuge, where they will receive help setting up their new life. Finally, when they are ready, they move into a flat of their own. Thanks to a grant from the Clothworkers’ Company, we are able to help more survivors who are making this journey to safety.

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TV licences in domestic abuse refuges

Domestic abuse, man and childWe are delighted to announce that the TV licensing policy has changed to help people in domestic abuse refuges. Until now the rules around licences in refuges were confusing. Sometimes it wasn’t clear if someone sheltering in a refuge needed to register for a licence or not. But now, each refuge will only need one licence, no matter how many TVs or how many residents there are.

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Families and Loneliness

Families - dad, son and uncle give the camera a thumbs upJodi Picoult once wrote, “Having a family means you’re never alone.” But even in families, loneliness can be a problem. There are lots of reasons why. A new addition to the family, illness or disability and resettlement can all cause feelings of isolation. After all, feeling lonely is not the same as being alone. Here we explore some of the circumstances that can lead to people feeling lonely within their family.

 

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How technology helps lonely refugees

Refugee lady is pleased with her technologyAt WaveLength, we work with organisations across the UK who are supporting newly-arrived refugees. As we have seen, loneliness and social isolation are two of the biggest challenges facing refugees in Britain today, and we work with these organisations to help overcome this loneliness. But how can technology help? In this week’s blog, refugees and their sponsors describe in their own words their experiences of loneliness and how technology can alleviate these.

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Loneliness and Refugees

Refugee family holding their new WaveLength TVLoneliness and social isolation are the biggest challenges faced by refugees arriving in London. They have been forced to leave their home country, their community and often their family as they flee war and persecution. New refugees are keen to make friends and contribute to society, but they face language and cultural barriers that can make this difficult. These barriers can separate refugees from the people around them, and make building a new life very lonely work.

 

 

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Join our team! Vacancies at WaveLength

WaveLength staff photoAre you planning the next chapter of your career? Looking for a new opportunity in the charity sector? If so, we might have the role for you! The WaveLength office houses a small team of friendly and enthusiastic staff. If you would like to be the newest member of our team, take a look at our latest vacancies below:

 

 

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Mental health and making friends

Making friendsFriendship is a very important part of life. Friends give us someone to laugh with when the going is good and someone to turn to in times of need. But maintaining friendships or meeting new people can be hard, and living with a mental health problem can make it seem even more difficult. That is one of the reasons loneliness and mental health often go hand in hand. Investing in friendships or building new ones is vital to good mental health. In this week’s blog, we will share some tips on making friends and meeting new people.

 

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Mental health and Loneliness

Mental healthThis month, the Spotlight on Loneliness campaign focuses on mental health. The relationship between this and loneliness is complicated. Having poor mental health can increase one’s chance of feeling lonely, and loneliness can be damaging to mental health. This month we will see both sides of the equation, and hear from some people working to help those affected.

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Carers, Dementia and Loneliness

Carers, Dementia, LonelinessMany of the carers we support look after partners or family members who have dementia. Dementia can be physically and mentally debilitating, and people with dementia may need help with basic everyday tasks. Two of the charities we work with to support dementia carers are Essex Dementia Care and Dementia Friendly Keighley. We spoke to some of the staff and volunteers there to find out more about caring.

 

 

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Look After Yourself To Look After Others

intres carers 3 7Every day around 6,000 people become carers and for many it’s a new experience. Many people may not even be aware the level of care and assistance they give to a family member or friend would class them as a full-time carer.

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How much time should children spend online?

children online, teenage girl looks at phoneWe have been hearing mixed messages this week about how much time children should spend online. First the Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield compared young people’s Internet usage to bingeing on junk food and encouraged parents to stop them overindulging during the summer holidays. In response, the former head of GCHQ Robert Hannigan said that parents should encourage children to spend more time online developing their digital skills.

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How Carers become Lonely

CarersThroughout August we will be shining the spotlight on loneliness among carers. Nearly 7 million adults in the UK look after a sick or disabled family member or friend who cannot care for themselves. Carers often have little time to themselves and can become lonely and socially isolated.

 

 

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Jamie’s story: Spotlight on Disability

BearWe all know that life can be lonely sometimes – even for people who are surrounded by friends and family. Loneliness doesn’t necessarily come from being alone: it is caused by a mismatch between the social interactions you want and the ones that you actually get. Technology can help very lonely people to feel less alone, or can be a tool to help lonely people engage more with those around them. In today’s blog, we hear the story of Jamie, a young man with severe learning disabilities whose life was changed by the great work of Solihull Life Opportunities and access to some WaveLength technology.

 

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Television, Loneliness and Disabilities

SOLO members with learning disabilities enjoy the Smart TVMany people believe that televisions isolate people, distracting them from spending time with friends or getting out into the “real” world. At WaveLength, we don’t agree with this. We see all the wonderful ways that televisions can bring people together, or bring the real world to those who can’t get on their own through illness or disabilities. This week’s blog is guest written by Solihull Living Opportunities, which provides care and activities to people with learning disabilities. Here SOLO tells us how they use their WaveLength Smart TV in their day centre Daylight.

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Spotlight on Disability – AAPNA

Spotlight on AAPNAOne of our partner organisations is AAPNA which offers home and respite services to disabled people in the BME community. We provided AAPNA with tablet computers which their clients use to Skype friends, download favourite music and take photographs to share with family members. We asked AAPNA to tell us a little about how loneliness affects their clients, and how their services help to alleviate this loneliness.

 

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Loneliness and Disability

SOLOThis month we are exploring issues of loneliness and disability as part of our Spotlight on Loneliness month. A survey conducted by Sense in 2015 found that one in four disabled people feel lonely on a typical day – for young disabled people aged 18-34 this rose to well over one in three. This month we will discover some of the reasons for this trend, and explore ways that the loneliness of disabled people can be alleviated.

 

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Spotlight on : Blackpool Coastal Housing

Liverpool Housing Trust 2 copyIn our work with homeless charities and Housing Associations, we often hear stories of ex-homeless people struggling to adapt to living in a home of their own. Rough sleeping often means having people around all the time, with very little privacy. Moving into a homeless hostel can create a new sense of community with other residents, staff and visitors. But after months or even years of this moving into a new, empty flat can be daunting and lonely. In some cases newly housed people have fallen back into damaging behaviours or even chosen to live on the streets again to escape that loneliness. That is why we believe it is so beneficial for newly housed people to have a TV or a radio to make their house feel like a home. In this week’s blog, Blackpool Coastal Housing tells us about how they helped Mr A move into a home of his own, after sleeping rough for 5 years.

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Spotlight on: Growing Rooms

Growing Rooms is part of St George's Crypt

When the University of York researched our work last year, they found that media technology could help recovering addicts to reduce their use of damaging substances. That is why we donate TVs and radios to organisations like Growing Rooms, a service offered by St George’s Crypt to help homeless people overcome addiction.

Here, Christine from St George’s Crypt tells us more about Growing Rooms and the difference it makes to service users.

 

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Spotlight on: Glentanar Court

A young man shows an older female Cairn tenant how to use a tablet computerToday’s guest blog is part of our Spotlight on Homeless month and has been written by Sarah Findlay of Cairn Housing Association, which provides affordable housing and support services to thousands of people across Scotland. One of those houses is Glentanar Court where Sarah develops a variety of projects and activities for residents. Here, Sarah tells us about how social media and WaveLength tablet computers can bring tenants together.

To help us fund more projects like these please donate to our Spotlight campaign today. Thank you.

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St. George’s Crypt, Leeds

Homelessness, LeedsThis May we went to Leeds to visit St. George’s Crypt. St. George’s offers homeless men and women in and around the city vital support in the form of accommodation, training and therapeutic care. For this week’s blog, Christine from St. George’s tells us more about the work that she and her colleagues do at the Crypt, and the ways that we at WaveLength are able to help them help others.

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Loneliness and the Man Box

man-person-fog-mistThis month we have been focussing on men as part of our Spotlight on Loneliness campaign. We have seen how family breakdown and domestic abuse can lead men into homelessness, and how isolating this can be. In this blog post, we will explore how the Man Box and societal pressure can leave men battling loneliness and isolation.

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Spotlight on care leavers: Coaching

Become coachingAt the beginning of our Spotlight on Care Leavers month, we learnt why this group of young adults can be particularly at risk of loneliness. We’ve heard from care leavers like Kayla, who have benefited from Wavelength’s support. In her final post, Ruth explains how Become’s new coaching programme is trying to tackle some of the root causes of loneliness among this group of young people.

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Spotlight on Care Leavers: Kayla’s Story

Care leavers KaylaIn 2015 we started working with Become (previously called the Who Cares? Trust) to reach young care leavers who were suffering from loneliness and isolation. As we have seen throughout this month leaving care can be an isolating experience, and the young people who do often receive little support from previous foster homes and families or the local authority when things get tough. Two years ago we worked with Become to provide a new TV to Kayla: this is her story.

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Spotlight on Loneliness: Care Leavers

This month we are shining the spotlight on loneliness among young people leaving care. In this week’s blog post, Ruth from Become (previously the Who Cares? Trust) explains why these young people are at risk of loneliness and social isolation.

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Loneliness and Dementia

QZ2B7319For those who suffer from dementia, loneliness can be a very real problem. And it seems that the problem works both ways, as healthy elderly people who feel lonely are more likely to develop the disease at a later date. Here we explore the relationship between loneliness and dementia, and how technology can help.

 

 

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Spotlight on the Elderly

QZ2B7289This month, as part of our Spotlight On Loneliness campaign, we will be focussing on loneliness and old age. For many people, the elderly are the first group that come to mind when the topics of loneliness and isolation are raised. This is partly down to campaigns such as John Lewis’ 2015 Christmas advert The Man On The Moon, which have helped to raise awareness of the loneliness that many people feel in old age.

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Workplace Loneliness: Expert Advice

Throughout February we have been exploring the issue of office loneliness – the impact of being lonely at work, signs that your colleagues might be suffering from loneliness and tips from organisations and entrepreneurs for building a happy workplace.

To round off our Loneliness in the Workplace month, coach and training consultant Katie Duckworth kindly agreed to author a guest blog for us. Here she shares her experience of office loneliness, and her expertise on how employers can support their workers to feel less lonely and isolated in their work.

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innocent workplace happiness

innocent logoAs part of our Loneliness in Business month we are sharing advice on how employers can help their workers avoid loneliness in the workplace. This week, innocent drinks has told us how they keep their team happy and healthy in Fruit Towers and beyond.

 

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How to tell if someone is lonely

 

Recognising lonelinessIt’s easy to imagine that loneliness is a problem that affects only the very young and the very old. Often our image of a lonely person is a housebound elderly widow sitting alone in her empty house, or the little boy standing on a busy school playground with no friends to play with. However, the statistics tell a very different story. Up to 30% of the population of the UK reports feeling chronically lonely; one in ten people feel that they lack a close friend to confide in, and one in five feel unloved. That means that you almost certainly live, work or socialise with someone who feels lonely.

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Spotlight on Loneliness

Spotlight on Loneliness This week we are launching Spotlight on Loneliness, our initiative for 2017. Despite Britain being the Loneliness Capital of Europe, many people in the UK are still unaware of the extent of the problem or the huge variety of people affected. While most discussions on this topic tend to focus on the elderly we know that old age isn’t the only thing that makes people lonely. Through our Spotlight campaign we want to highlight the many ways that this issue can affect people of all ages and from all walks of life.

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Our Athens Marathon Hero

Amy Trakos Olympic flameSix months ago we received an email from Amy Trakos, who found our website online and was inspired to get in touch. Amy was planning to run the Athens Marathon in November and asked if she could do so on our behalf. Of course there is only really one answer to that question, so in November – after smashing her fundraising target – Amy put on her running shoes and headed to Greece.

Here is her story in her own words:

 

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A toast to you this Christmas

 

Christmas TreeIt’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! The WaveLength tree is up and the big day is nearly upon us. And with all of the festive cheer going around, we wanted to share a little of our own.

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Help Amira’s Christmas Wish Come True

Amira's wishFor years, Amira and her family have all made the same Christmas wish: a safe new home away from the war, the bombs and the refugee camps. In 2016 that wish finally came true. This will be their first Christmas in their new home in the UK, and the first time in years that they are all wishing for different things.

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Refugees, Resettlement and Radio

Syrian refugees familyAs the wars continue in the Middle East millions of people have been forced to flee their homes, risking and too often losing their lives as they seek refuge in the West. In the face of so much unrest, we are proud to have been able to offer help to an increasing number of refugees settling in the UK through the Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement Programme. The VPR Programme is a Government scheme to resettle in the UK some of the most vulnerable refugees who have made their way to camps in Lebanon, Turkey and Pakistan.

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Solihull Life Opportunities

We provided a Smart TV to Solihull Life Opportunities, or SoLO. SoLo is a charity in Solihull that provides social and leisure activities to people of all ages who have learning disabilities. Our CEO Tim went to visit SoLO to see how their new Smart TV was making a difference.

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WaveLength and CLIC Sargent

CLIC Sargent logoReceiving treatment for cancer can be a very lonely experience – particularly for those who receive treatment in cities far from home or need to be in hospital for a long time. For young people, being away from friends and family like this can be especially isolating. That’s why we are proud to announce that this November we will begin working with CLIC Sargent to help alleviate loneliness and social isolation among young people with cancer.
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6 key signs that loneliness is looming

Loneliness is looming

Loneliness is a hard thing to talk about. We all experience break ups, bereavement, illnesses and changes in work or hometown during our lives, and these things can sometimes leave us feeling alone or isolated. And while no one wants to think of themselves as being lonely, it can be hard to bounce back from without the realisation that something is wrong.

If you think that you or a friend are suffering from loneliness, look out for these 6 key signs. If they sound familiar, it might be time to try and tackle the loneliness head-on.

 

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