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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