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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Health Impacts of Loneliness

QZ2B7289For some, being alone is a luxury. Taking the time to recharge, focus on personal projects or catch up with a favourite TV show can be a welcome break from a tiring job or busy personal life. But for many being alone all day every day is a fact of life.

According to the Campaign to End Loneliness, over a million older people in the UK are chronically lonely. But this problem doesn’t just impact the elderly – 53% of 18-34 year olds also struggle with loneliness. Human beings are social creatures, and recent research has shown that feeling alone is not just upsetting – it’s actually bad for our health.

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Miss Universe GB Finals

Our CEO Tim and our ambassador Kirsty Heslewood unveiling one of the new TVs in Ward 41 of Leicester's Royal Infirmary.As you might already know, we are fortunate to have Kirsty Heslewood as our celebrity ambassador here at WaveLength. Kirsty was Miss England and Miss UK in 2013 and 2014, and at the moment she is busy preparing for the finals of Miss Universe GB, which is taking place next weekend in Cardiff.

Kirsty is deeply committed to helping overcome loneliness and social isolation. She has met many people across the country who have received technology from WaveLength, and has heard directly from them the many ways in which technology can improve the lives of people who are isolated from their communities. Continue reading…


WaveLength’s Research Findings

Big Connect posterThis March we launched the findings of a major new piece of research conducted in association with the University of York. We wanted to explore the social, economic and health impacts that our work has had on our beneficiaries.

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Small gifts, big thanks

We always love hearing from the people that we help, and seeing how our work has made a difference to their lives. We wanted to share with you some of the letters of thanks that we have received!

We at WaveLength work with charities and individuals across the country. The people that we help are all very different, but they all have one thing in common. They all suffer from loneliness and social isolation. By gifting them something as simple as a radio or television we can help them to overcome their loneliness and improve their lives.

The people we help come from all walks of life and include ill and disabled people, elderly people, homeless and ex-homeless, refugees and survivors of domestic violence to name a few. Here’s how our small gift has affected some of those people.

 


WaveLength and Rotary Club work together to fight loneliness

This week we are announcing the addition of a new member to our Board of Trustees: Mr Barry Theobald-Hicks.

Tim with trustee Barry Theobald-Hicks, who is President of the Rotary Club of St PancrasAs well as being our latest trustee Barry is President of the Rotary Club of St Pancras, which shares our values of reducing loneliness by facilitating friendships and community. The Rotary Club hosts a weekly lunch in Central London where members can meet, get to know each other and make new friends in the city.

With regards to the announcement, Tim said “We are delighted that Barry is joining WaveLength as one of our Trustees. It’s great to have him on board, and fantastic that he is getting involved by visiting the projects we work with to get a flavour of the needs that are out there and the positive impacts of our work.”

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Tim’s visit to Leicester

Last Friday Tim visited Leicester with our Ambassador Kirsty Rose. They went to meet some community members at the Adhar Project, who we recently gave 10 tablet computers and 2 smart TVs, and to unveil 16 brand new 32″ TVs at Leicester Royal Infirmary. Here’s how they got on!


The Big Connect: how media alleviates loneliness


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Media technology can help people who are isolated connect to the outside world in ways that can be life-changing. A change in environment, the breakdown of a relationship, poverty or mental health problems can all lead to social isolation or loneliness that can be difficult to resolve, or sometimes even to talk about. New research shows that providing people with radios, televisions or tablet computers can help them to re-engage with the world and overcome their loneliness.

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Ambassador Welcome at Trustee Reception

Recently, the WaveLength board and staff were extremely happy to be able to welcome one of our celebrity ambassadors, Miss UK Kirsty-Rose Heslewood, at a trustee reception.Chairman Steven meets Kirsty Heslewood

Trustee Tony Judd was able to book the Flyfishers Club in central London to greet Kirsty and let her find out more about our work. The event was also a great time to give our trustees a run-down on our research project with the University of York, finding out more about the needs of WaveLength’s current and future beneficiaries.

 

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Many Faces of Homelessness

QZ2B7330Many WaveLength beneficiaries are homeless or in insecure housing. These people have very complex needs, as homelessness is usually a stopping point on a very difficult journey. We hope that the TVs, radios and tablets we supply will make the next stop a much happier one.

Recently, we donated a TV and radio to a lady of 82 in a women’s aid centre in Southend. Tragically, her husband’s violence had forced her from her home – a stark reminder that abuse can affect anyone, at any time of life.

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Untold Stories: Our Beneficiaries

Untold Stories is a short film about WaveLength. It was made for us by the director Frank Madone. Frank met some of our beneficiaries and asked them about how WaveLength’s support has affected them.

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Radio Academy Podcast

You can now listen to the first WaveLength Radio Academy podcast at www.radioacademy.org/podcasts. The 15 minute podcast is a great introduction to WaveLength’s work and priorities, with Radio Academy’s Paul Robinson interviewing our CEO Tim Leech. Paul and Tim are joined by Michael Ferguson and Ken, who told us how technology improves the lives of homeless people in London. Michael is a representative of London homelessness charity Passage, and Ken is a floating mental health support worker working with the homeless in Westminster. They have both referred lots of homeless people to us for our support.

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Women’s Aid Lanarkshire

cropped-SMALL-W-HART.pngIt can be hard to explain why women fleeing domestic violence need our services. Everybody knows they’re traumatised, scared and vulnerable. But not many people realise just how isolated and lonely these women and their children are.

In South Lanarkshire, women are rehoused in individual flats to give them independence, space and time to recover from their experiences. However, as they are still in danger and their new addresses are confidential, they can only have one, named, female visitor.

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Adhar Project

Tim recently made a visit to an inspirational group of people in Leicester. The Adhar Project provides support for Asian-heritage people who are struggling with poor mental health or have learning difficulties, and their families. “Adhar” means “support” in the Sanskrit language.

womanwithhat

The Adhar project is a great example of an organisation stepping up to do what’s needed for the most vulnerable people in their communities. It’s been going since 1989 and their lovely service co-ordinators and volunteers work closely with social workers to deliver emotional support, family intervention, education, day trips and keep fit classes in Asian languages.

When WaveLength staff paid them a visit, we were thrilled to see the women’s group enjoying the smart TV we provided. The TV’s digital capability was really important to them, letting them access local news in their own languages, Asian films and YouTube beauty tutorials, which they wouldn’t have with traditional TVs.

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Adhar Project Gallery

WaveLength staff recently made a visit to an inspirational group of people in Leicester. The Adhar Project provides support for Asian-heritage people who are struggling with poor mental health or have learning difficulties, and their families. “Adhar” means “support” in the Sanskrit language.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Orchid Friendship Group Gallery

The Orchid Friendship Group in Nottinghamshire brings together over-50s suffering from loneliness in rural communities. We donated a big TV for them to watch films on when they get together, and several tablet computers to individuals to help them keep in touch with family living far off.

 

 

 

 

 


Staying Strong After Leaving Care

wavelength-logoHard to believe it’s March already! But we’re celebrating a new month’s worth of feedback from the lonely people we help up and down the country.

Young people aged 16-21 have all the world ahead of them. But without the family structures most people this age still rely on, care-leavers are at risk of dangerous loneliness and isolation just when they should be starting exciting adult lives.

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Tim’s Blog: One Piece of Equipment, Diverse Opportunities

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“Sometimes people ask us why our focus remains on providing TVs. This year we have also started providing tablet computers, but especially in our work with small organisations, we’ve appreciated more than ever the diverse uses TVs have for people at risk of isolation.

Daylight Project in Solihull received a brand-new internet-enabled digital TV from us a while ago. They run a drop-in centre for adults with learning difficulties. So far, these adults have used the TV to:

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Tim’s Blog: 2014 Newsletter

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“Happy New Year!

“It’s been a great day at the office, as we receive a very generous amount of kind donations from our friendly supporters. Myself and the other WaveLength staff would like to thank you from the bottoms of our hearts for helping us reach out to lonely people, over the holiday period and for the rest of the new year.

“It’s been an exciting year. We’ve:

“To see a full roundup of WaveLength’s work in 2014, take a look at our Christmas newsletter (PDF)

“And all the best for 2015!”


Tim’s Blog: Mums and Children Need Homes

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARecently I was very touched to hear from a Cambridge Women’s Aid staff member.

Women’s Aid Refuges were the first organisations we partnered with, giving TVs and radios that help many people passing in and out of the refuges. Families who’ve suffered domestic abuse are terribly lonely and isolated, through no fault of their own. As Annie at Cambridge Women’s Aid says, “All of the families living in refuge have had to leave their support networks to come far away to be safe, and start again in a new part of the country where they do not know a single person.

“While in refuge our families are at a terrible disadvantage. Due to safety reasons, the children cannot invite new friends over from school or tell them the truth about their living situation. Mums tend not to make friends outside of the refuge as it is too difficult to share their “back story”. These factors isolate our families.” Continue reading…


Tim’s Blog: Thank You

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAt the festive season, it’s easy to forget that lonely people don’t get a ‘day off’ from their isolation on Christmas Day to go and see loving family. Their situations are just as tough as ever. I hope that this Christmas, our beneficiaries get some comfort and companionship from their TVs and radios.

And over the last few months we’ve had some really lovely messages of thanks.

We’re hearing from many partners, from homelessness shelters to mental health drop-in centres, who are really glad to help their clients with a TV. Continue reading…


Tim’s Blog: Visit to Herring House

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARecently, Janet and I visited Herring House, an inspirational homelessness centre in Great Yarmouth. We were visiting to donate four small TVs and a communal radio to the High Support Unit attached to the main hostel.

Herring House is a charity set up by CAB volunteers in 1991 to help people in the Great Yarmouth area who are dealing with homelessness. We were greeted on arrival by the beautiful mosaic of a herring created during an art project some 15 years before, and still serving as a sign of support and welcome to the area’s community.

The hostel has 27 people in residence, all with different health and often substance abuse needs. Centre worker Sue told us that, although drug and alcohol use are not permitted within the hostel, people wanting to detox completely found it difficult to do while living in an environment with people who were not abstinent. However, they didn’t want to lose connections which were often their only form of supportive social network. Continue reading…


Welcome, Ambassadors!

We Have News!

We at Wavelength have some really exciting news to share today.

To mark ourKersty pupy 75th anniversary, we’ve welcomed four celebrity Ambassadors to the fold: YES keyboard legend Rick Wakeman, Miss UK Kirsty Rose Heslewood, and much-loved comedians Miki Travis and Freddie ‘Parrot Face’ Davies.

Our Ambassadors will help to spread the word about WaveLength, act as inspiration for our beneficiaries and supporters, and amplify the voices of our beneficiaries – both among people who need WaveLength’s help but haven’t heard of us yet, and among potential donors. Continue reading…


WaveLength and Passage: Hudl Training Session

Helping formerly homeless people to get to grips with their new Hudl tablet computers, in our latest partnership with Passage in Westminster. We’re proud to support Passage’s ‘Home for Good’ scheme, which helps formerly homeless people settle into their new homes and tackle the isolation of changing circumstances.

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Friends Save Lives: TV and a cup of tea

Orchid Friendship Group in North Nottinghamshire brings people together through befriending and a day centre. We gave them a big smart TV, a DVD player and four Hudl tablets! Since we’ve been running more projects in partnership with other charities and organisations, WaveLength’s equipment helps a huge and diverse variety of people. Our CEO Tim likes to get out to see the effects our equipment is having, and meet our partners and beneficiaries face to face.

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Orchid Friendship Group & St Anne’s Hostel

stmungos_desCompanionship for older people in rural Nottinghamshire and for older homeless men in St Anne’s, Birmingham – the only Midlands hostel to accept dogs!

Recently we’ve heard some lovely things about the equipment we provide, and we’d like to share it with our supporters.

The Orchid Friendship Group in Ollerton, Nottinghamshire, represents a range of isolated people from ex-mining villages. For many the weekly group is the only time they get out of the house for the social contact they desperately need for health and wellbeing.

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WaveLength Ambassadors Speak Out Against Loneliness

Our lovely Ambassadors are hard at work representing WaveLength to the public. Here, they tell you why they chose us.

“Working in radio, I realise how many people rely on their radio for company, Radio presenters all over the world receive thousands of letters every day from people stating that fact. I am proud to be an ambassador for Wavelength.’Rick Wakeman, YES keyboardist, “Grumpy Old Man” and radio presenter

Kersty pupy‘I decided to become an Ambassador for Wavelength because in this day and age, we can forget that some people still do not have the TVs and radios that most of us take for granted. After reading some letters of thanks from the people helped by Wavelength, I know that without their TVs and radios some are housebound in silence which is not a healthy way to live. Loneliness is cruel and can lead to depression, and bringing TV and radio into homes helps massively with loneliness and mental health. When I was suffering myself with Selective Mutism as a child, I could be in a crowded classroom but still felt lonely. The need to get home to speak was extremely important to me. People should feel most comfortable and happy in their own homes. Wavelength strives to bring that comfort and peace of mind to everyone.’ Kirsty Rose Heslewood, Reigning Miss UK Continue reading…


Tim’s Blog: Our First Tablet Project

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“Last week, we paid a very special visit to Westminster. Deirdre, Colette and I were there to help eight former Passage clients get to grips with their brand new Hudl tablets. The clients, who are all formerly homeless and setting into new tenancies across London, received the tablets as part of our first ever project designed to provide computer technology rather than TVs and radios.

“Passage’s Employment, Training and Welfare Rights Manager, Richard Wealleans, led the new tablet users through the process of setting up and using the Android tablets. He covered everything from creating an email address to finding good free apps and widgets. The attendees had amazingly diverse experience – some new to computers, others already using smartphones, while one young man planned to use complex IT skills to ‘jailbreak’ his tablet as soon as he got home! Continue reading…


Passage Training Session

Members of the Passage’s Sunday Lunch club learn how to use their new WaveLength-provided Hudls. 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Lighting up lonely lives in St Anne’s Hostel

We were chuffed today to receive a lovely picture of Simon at St Anne’s hostel, enjoying his new radio. St Anne’s provides accommodation and support for homeless men over 25 – a neglected demographic – and is the only homelessness hostel in Birmingham which accepts dogs!

simonstannes

We sent them a 32 inch TV for a communal area back in April, and in June sent along five radios for individuals’ rooms as well.

Here is a pic of Simon enjoying his new radio. As you can see, he doesn’t have a lot of possessions. It can be tough to make a hostel room feel like home, so we’re really glad that the new radio is helping Simon to settle in and feel less lonely. Mark from St Anne’s says Simon has ‘benefited greatly from his radio’.

Want to help people like Simon turn new pages in their lives? Find out more…


Radio Academy Podcast Gallery

Tim talked with Radio Academy’s Paul Robinson, and two homelessness outreach workers who give out WaveLength radios, about the difference this equipment can make to people struggling to make changes in their lives.

 

 

 

 

 


Feedback: Step Up and Home for Good

One of the great things about our organisational projects is the way that they give us a glimpse into the schemes being carried out up and down the country to bring comfort and companionship to lonely people.

passage-home-for-goodWaveLength helps such diverse groups of people, it’s hard to keep track of them all. But often, other organisations send us reminders of the difference that our TVs and radios make.

Step Up, run by ASCEND in Hertfordshire, helps people with poor mental health to avoid the poverty trap. We gave them 5 TVs and 6 radios. Christine, Project Director, says:

“I’ve had the radios delivered this afternoon and I’ve already given one away.

“The person I gave it to is from Kosovo and they had to flee to this country at the time of the crisis. They have worked so hard since coming to this country, husband working, eldest son going to university but life still tends to kick them in the teeth. The husband recently lost his job due to ill health and they are now back living on benefits with very little money. She is over the moon with the radio.

“Thank you so much for coming to us with this amazing project.” Continue reading…


Feedback: Orchid Friendship Group and St Anne’s Hostel

Companionship for older people in rural Nottinghamshire and for older homeless men in St Anne’s, Birmingham – the only Midlands hostel to accept dogs!

Recently we’ve heard some lovely things about the equipment we provide, and we’d like to share it with out supporters.

The Orchid Friendship Group in Ollerton, Nottinghamshire, represents a range of isolated people from ex-mining villages. For many the weekly group is the only time they get out of the house for the social contact they desperately need for health and wellbeing.

Lis Lawrence, Director of Care + Comfort which runs the group, says, ‘The group are delighted that they will be able to watch television and some of their favourite films and DVD. This means so much to them.”

Meanwhile, St Anne’s Hostel in Birmingham let us know that our TV has provided a social hub for older residents of their single men’s homelessness refuge. These men enjoy having a place to socialise while watching programmes that don’t necessarily appeal to ‘youngsters.’

“Particularly the soaps!”

St Anne’s workers say the WaveLength TV “has brought a number of residents out of their rooms and enabled more communal cohesion between residents.”

The hostel supports men moving on to their own tenancies in the future. So they know how important it is, when changing a chaotic life, to engage with other people and move away from self-isolation.

We’d like to say to all WaveLength supporters – thank you so much, for helping us to help more people every day.


Feedback: “The difference this has made to my life is unbelievable”

We’ve recently received some very touching feedback. Two letters in particular we’d really like to share with you.

Cambridge Women’s Aid has provided a moving update on the families supported by our TVs and radios when they move from the refuge into their own accommodation, with very little to call their own.

Meanwhile, a gentleman who’s brought himself out of homelessness with the help of Together Working for Wellbeing got in touch to tell us what a difference our donors’ help has made.

Angie from Cambridge Women’s Aid says:

“Since we received your kind donation of several televisions, we have had two families resettle in our local area from the refuge who have benefited from this donation.  Family number one is a mum and three children and family number two is a mum and four children.

“Family One had been in refuge for just over eight months, and Family Two fir six and a half months.  Neither family had any possessions of their own and were very grateful to be supported by a television from WaveLength. They have both managed the transition from refuge to living in their own homes well.

“Now that Community Care Grants have gone, our families can only receive three household goods from the Local Authority when moving into their own home.  Many of our families have nothing to set up home with so rely greatly on donations to add to these three items to have any hope in moving on in their lives.  We are unable to pass on second-hand televisions so this donation is very much appreciated. Thank you for the support!

“Since then the televisions have continued to support families restarting their lives after being so unsettled due to violence and abuse. Four televisions have gone on to support four more families who were reliant on donations for their new homes. One family comprised a mother and a teenager who had been in refuge for four months. Another comprised a mother and two young children and had been in refuge for eleven months. The third comprised a mother and a young child who had been in refuge for four months, and family four comprised of a mother and two children and had been in refuge for nine months.

“The televisions were a source of great support to all of the families.  To date, the six televisions have helped six adults and thirteen children.”

These TVs are on long-term loan so that WaveLength can pass them on in the future. However, Angie told us,

“The majority of our families are destitute when they arrive at refuge and we are seeing more and more families dealing with significant debt issues.  Although we continue to support families to be independent when they have left refuge, they continue to deal with a number of pressures, which mean they are still in need of the support given by Wavelength. We have many more families who would truly benefit from this support when they leave refuge.”

We’re so incredibly proud to be part of these families’ journeys into independence. As you can see, there is still a great need for support, particularly with cuts to community care grants. Anything you can give could help us to make a difference to the lives of people suffering from isolation – just donate online or by cheque.

We also received a letter from a Together Working for Wellbeing service user:

“I would like to thank your charity for helping me in my time of great need. I suffer with Mental Health difficulties and have been homeless and bankrupt. I have received fantastic support from my Project Co-ordinator and now have a safe secure roof over my head. My biggest problem in settling in and trying to rebuild my life was feeling lonely and to make my new residence feel like home. With your help, I now have a television and radio, the difference this has made to my life is unbelievable. Knowing that people are willing to help and give me a chance to get back on my feet is also a positive start on the way back to health and happiness.”

We know that the impact of our help on beneficiaries, alongside the benefits from the actual TV and radios, includes the emotional support of knowing that people – WaveLength’s supporters and donors – care about them and think they deserve more. As we crowded around this letter in the office, we were really moved that this beneficiary decided to reach out.


Feedback from Nugent Care and Endike Community Care

Some really touching feedback landed in the WaveLength inbox today from two amazing organisations that we’ve supplied with TVs and radios. One case history, and some lovely photos, that inspired us and moved us.

Endike Community Care runs a day centre in Hull that aims to stop loneliness for elderly people. Social stimulation and regular contact can help to slow dementia and makes an enormous amount of difference to older people’s health and happiness.

endike3WaveLength provided them with a TV for day centre visitors to watch, and they sent us some lovely pictures of their users enjoying their new set!

Meanwhile, Rachel Moran from Nugent Care, which supports over 5,000 people across the North West, got in touch to let us know that ‘the TVs and radios have been a huge success’. WaveLength’s donations help them to help vulnerable adults through their Supported Living scheme in Liverpool.

Rachel told us about one man who our equipment really made a difference to…

“Mr X has a 25 year history of mental health issues, has been street homeless on a number of occasions and sectioned under the Mental Health Act in various locations across the country. Mr X had a breakdown in his early 20’s after leaving a cult.

“Mr X came to us through the Community Mental Health team in Liverpool, in July 13, on discharge from hospital. When he first moved into the scheme, Mr X was very withdrawn, anxious and found it difficult to communicate. He also had trust issues. Over the first few weeks we supported Mr X to settle into his accommodation and put routine and structure into his days whilst learning to trust myself, Rachel Moran and my colleague Peter Boylan.

“Mr X had not watched television or listened to a radio for a number of years as he believed that he was receiving messages through them, which would in turn effect his mental health and cause it to deteriorate and trigger a psychotic episode.

“After being in our project for a few weeks, Mr X reported that he felt settled and well enough to try to use a television and radio. When he received the radio and television from Wavelength, it took him a little time to adjust but eventually he got used to watching selected programmes and listing to the radio. He has actually started to find it both a distraction and a therapy for his mental health, and his psychiatrist has reported that he is the most stable he has been for a number of years and is engaging really well with his support.

“We were able to use the equipment you gifted us to help us engage with one of our most difficult and complex clients.”


Perth Association for Mental Health and Pictures from WaveLength’s History

Lovely Feedback from PAMH

We were really proud today to get some lovely feedback from a Scottish mental health association xanax online that we’ve supplied with a TV for its Recovery College. PAMH helps people with mental ill-health, their carers, families, friends and potential employers to learn how to manage and control their illness so that they can get the most out of their lives, relationships etc.

Jillian tells us, “We have already run several pilot courses where we have used the television for display purposes and this has been most beneficial to both participants and course deliverers. Staff are also using the television to practice delivery and view materials appropriate for use in sessions with clients. As we go forward, the television will be fully utilized in our work.

“This equipment has been monumental in helping us to develop and deliver courses within our service.”

It’s fantastic to know that just one piece of our equipment can make such a difference. Our new model of partnering with organisations means that our supporters’ donations are really maximized, bringing real support and progress to the most isolated people in our society.

Janet speaks to St Nicholas’ Ladies Club

Recently our Project Worker Janet gave a talk about WaveLength’s history and activities to St Nicholas’ Ladies Club, a church club near our Hornchurch offices. She told them all about WaveLength’s 75 years of fighting loneliness, and our self-funded model, which means that we depend on donations rather than support from the government or councils.

She also passed around some photos we found in the back of the office cupboards, which really touched a lot of people! A couple of these are below – for more, take a look at our Facebook page or Pinterest board.

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Herring House – Domestic Violence Against Men

In 2010, 40% of domestic abuse victims were men. But there are very few refuges in the UK for male survivors of abuse. Instead, many male survivors end up homeless, either living on the streets or moving between hostels.

Herring House

Herring House homelessness centre is one shelter that cares for men who have escaped abuse. We gave them some TVs and radios for the men to enjoy. In this video, staff at Herring House tell us how domestic abuse drives men into homelessness.

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“At last they feel valued”

Tim talks to two of the staff members at Herring House. We recently donated TVs and radios to their High Support Unit which helps people with long-term complex problems. They tell us that TVs help foster the sense of control and self-esteem that enables people to lift themselves out of homelessness.

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Tim’s Blog: Thank Yous and Feedback for the New Year

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOver Christmas we got some very touching “thank yous” from our beneficiaries and referees. It is really satisfying to read such personal accounts of the difference a small donation of a radio or TV set can make – for people all over the UK.

For instance, this message came in on a Christmas card from a lady living in a homelessness refuge.

“To whom it may concern,

Sending many thanks your way!

A huge thank you for the television for my room – I am in hospital at the moment and to have a TV will make such a big difference upon my return.

Once again thank you,

Nicola”

And a referee from the Together Working for Wellbeing charity, which supports people with mental health issues, sent us a note to say she was “so pleased Mark’s TV will be in time for Christmas!”

We were touched to be told, “you are so helpful, and will change lives and aid the path to recovery and wellbeing.”

I hope that the New Year brings Nicola, Mark and all our beneficiaries strength, good fortune and fulfillment. And our donors can certainly pat themselves on the back for making a difference. A longer message from a referee at St Mungo’s let us know exactly how our TVs help people coming out of homelessness.

St Mungo’s Michael told us,

“The clients who received the loaned television sets were of varying ages and support needs but shared the common factors of social isolation and financial hardship. All five sets were given to formerly homeless clients who were moving out of either a shared hostel environment (where there was a communal television) or were moving directly from the streets to their own independent accommodation – usually a studio or one bed flat.

“Two of the clients suffer from depression and anxiety treat with valium , one has a psychotic mental illness and two have a combination of depression and are also recovering drug / alcohol addicts. I have had feedback from four of these clients. All five clients were also supported in obtaining TV licences, in four out of five cases by the Cash Easy Entry / Payment Card Scheme, the other client paying by direct debit.

“A common theme in the clients’ feedback is just how important a television set has been in alleviating social isolation (statistically, the single most important reason why tenancies for formerly homeless people fail) and assisting with tenancy sustainment – preventing abandonment of accommodation and a return to the streets. I do not think it is an exaggeration to say that without provision of a television set, at least one of these five clients would have returned to rough sleeping.”

This feedback warmed my heart, knowing that WaveLength can help lift people out of isolation and poverty just by providing a TV.

Michael also included a quote from a client called, Nicholas, 59, a former rough sleeper who suffers from psychotic episodes. He spent six months rough sleeping in Bristol and London and a further eight months in a hostel for homeless men before being allocated a housing association flat in Lambeth.

Nicholas says, “In the hostel there were always people around to talk to and I could watch (the communal) television in the evenings and at meal times. When I got my flat I suddenly had no-one around again and it was so quiet. I was therefore very happy when I received the television.”

So here’s to making a difference, to the most vulnerable people in our society, with comfort, contact and companionship!

Happy New Year!


Feedback: Women’s Aid Leicestershire, and Helping Individuals

feedbacklettercolindaleWe get quite a lot of feedback from our organisation partners, but not so much from individuals who we help after referrals from their social workers, housing officers, community leaders etc. This is because these people often struggle to get through the days due to their isolation and other situations. However, sometimes we do get a letter that touches our hearts.

This letter from a lady in Colindale brought a lot of smiles to our face at the office.

Transcript: “To whom it may concern,

“I would just like to express the deepest gratitude for all your help in getting back on my feet. I have been suffering with anxiety disorder and depression for quite some time now and it had really brought me down, but since I met my housing support officer John, he has been helping me and motivating me to get back on my feet with your amazing help. Once I have the neccessities in my flat such as furniture i.e. a cooker I am very confident I will be able to stabilise myself. I am currently working alongside the job centre writing a business plan so in the future I can run a successful make up and beauty business, which I am qualified in.

“Once again thank you so much.”

It’s really touching to hear of the difference we’ve made to people struggling to lift themselves up out of isolation.

Women’s Aid Leicestershire

A Women’s Aid refuge in Leicestershire that we support with radios in Leicestershire has asked its residents for statements on how they’ve made a difference, and received some lovely comments.

“Children dance around the room to the music”

“It lifts my mood, makes me feel good, when I’m cleaning my room I put the radio on”

“It makes me feel really happy; I can listen to three Asian radio stations. I don’t watch TV or read so it really really helps it is my friend”

“Relaxes you, everyone can listen to their own choice of music whenever they want to”

People often don’t believe that radios are still relevant and useful in the present day, but we’re constantly told how useful they are. Not only do they mean no-one has to pay a regular TV licence fee, but they provide a manageable amount of stimulation for people who need to be able to control their own living spaces. Many people who have intrusive mental health symptoms need this level of stimulation, and since we’ve been working with refuges for those escaping domestic violence, we’re hearing that the ability to get companionship from a choice of radio programmes makes a huge difference.

To read more about WaveLength’s work with Women’s Aid refuges, click here.

Women’s Aid Leicestershire (WALL) says,

“A refuge is a safe house where women with or without children can live free from abuse and have time and space to recover and start to take control of their lives. When in refuge women are provided with help and support to enable women to move on to permanent accommodation or accommodation that is more suited to their needs.

“Our refuge prides itself on being a friendly welcoming and safe environment where women can feel at home and get to know other women and receive necessary support from workers and other women in similar circumstances, as well as basic counseling, practical help with benefits, money, housing, health, education and training, social and cultural activities and sign posting to other relevant services. Our refuge is a 7 bedded refuge in total we can provide support for 7 women and 6 children and any given time. Last year on average we supported 47 women and 35 children.

“Many women and children that arrive at refuge come with only basic essentials or nothing at all and often with no financial support or means to finances. The first few days or weeks can be very lonely, isolating and scary for the women and children therefore the radios donated have really help overcome some of these barriers and fears.“


Making a Difference at HULLHARP

We recently donated a large television to HULLHARP, a network of homelessness centres in the Hull area.

It was great to get this feedback from HULLHARP centre worker Ed:

“The television is in the communal area of one of our supported houses, which has 10 bedrooms and is nearly always full.

“At the present time, we have a number of Polish residents and they have been able to ask Polish-language channels (I’m a bit technically illiterate so I don’t know how this works)! This has been really beneficial because most of the Polish residents have little or no English and so having TV in their own language has been excellent in terms of providing a social focus within the house as well as entertainment.”

We know that supportive social networks are useful for anyone going through tough times, and we’re thrilled that our TV is helping people to give each other support in HULLHARP’s centre. And it’s remarkable how many people can be helped by a single donation to a homelessness centre!

To find out more about HULLHARP, visit their website


Lovely Feedback for Christmas!

We were thrilled to get some great feedback recently from a really lovely beneficiary in Leicester. Mr Brown became homeless after having to give up his job to look after his terminally ill father. He was placed in a hostel and suffers from loneliness and isolation after the death of his father.

But now, Mr Brown has a place of his own – and WaveLength helped him to feel at home.

He wrote to us to say, “After coming out of the hostel system and getting a fresh start, having a TV and licence (with radio) is a real path to the mainstream. You are all great! Thanks – good luck.”

WaveLength supporters are great! We continue to be amazed at your generosity and consideration for people who need a little companionship in their lives. We’ve been hearing a lot lately that our TVs and radios make people ‘feel normal.’ They help people to see their problems as manageable, not a cause for despair – and remind them of the friendly society that’s out there ready to welcome them.

This was a lovely message to receive around Christmas time.

Merry Christmas to Mr Brown and to all our beneficiaries and donors!


WaveLength Visits St Mungo’s

Wavestmungos_desLength works with homelessness centres across the country. We recently visited two homes in London run by St Mungos (www.mungos.org).

Julie showed us around the Harrow Road Centre, opened in 1989 in a converted office block. This first-stage hostel is home for 41 residents aged over 50, rough sleepers referred by outreach workers, or those with enduring mental health problems. Some have come from other hostels where the different needs of the younger residents have increased their vulnerability. Many have been on the streets for over 20 years.

“Loneliness is a huge problem”

Manystmungos_harrowroad residents, with already poor coping strategies, have lost partners of 40 years or lost their homes when their parents passed away. Loneliness is a huge problem with every client group, from the youngest to the oldest. Residents lack self-esteem and confidence.

“It is scary how self-isolating they are,” says Julie.

The team at Mungo’s addresses this; they do not just provide a home for their residents, they also bring in activities and organise trips out so the residents can engage with other environments, and arrange training so clients can move on. There have been many successes including an ex-service user “who everyone had given up on” helped by St Mungo’s into an apprenticeship, now healthy and with a future.

Some, however, cannot bring themselves to leave the safety of their room within the hostel and for these clients the TV provides a lifeline, an engagement with an outside world that cannot harm them.

stmungos_tv

We spoke to one resident, Michael, who had been sleeping rough before moving to Harrow Road 4 months previously. He rarely leaves his room except to make a cup of tea or go for a solitary walk along the canal. Having been given a Wavelength TV he enjoys watching the History Channel, with the World at War a great favourite; he is not so keen on the soaps – particularly the Yorkshire accents in Coronation Street.

There is no such thing as “The Homeless”

Every client at Harrow Road is different and is treated with dignity and hope. Five members of staff, including the Deputy Manager have been service users. Each has their own recovery and each brings something extra to the team.

We were also able to visit a St Mungos Registered Care Home caring for a very vulnerable client group, one of only 3 or 4 specialist care homes in London who work specifically with those with long-term alcohol dependency issues. Many of the clients have a history of rough sleeping. In many cases their accommodation has completely broken down when drug users or prostitutes have taken over the building and forced them on to the street. With no contact with family or friends, these vulnerable people are truly isolated until they find a home with Chichester Road.

Chichester Road becomes home to the residents for as long as they want it or have to move on to more specialist care.

Mick, the Manager, tells us “We don’t know what has been going on in the background… sometimes people have just been completely abandoned. Everyone who comes to the home is in crisis.”

A phone call home after 47 years

“The staff are the only people close to our resident and then they start talking about their families and wanting to make contact,” says Mick.

St Mungos facilitated a phone call for a resident who had not spoken to his sister in 47 years and then they were talking on the phone “as if they were talking yesterday”

Comfort and dignity

The staff help the client’s manage their vulnerabilities – accidents are reduced with fewer hospital stays, clients are being fed so are not so emaciated, they are no longer being abused financially. Their dignity is maintained.

Outings and activities help with engagement and cognitive improvement, but some residents cognitively cannot engage in a group activity and for them the TVs are a lifeline. Many need the comfort of their rooms, to have their own environment and make their own choices. TVs bring in the outside world and help engagement within the community of the home.

Main photo: Des, a St Mungo’s resident, was given a new WaveLength TV to bring him contact and engagement with the outside world