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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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 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, television, or tablet 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 gifts have affected some of those people.

“Receiving a radio & TV from WaveLength has helped me deal with my mental health issues. 
I live alone & sometimes I suffer from hearing voices and having a radio & TV in my flat distracts me. Having a radio and telly from your organisation helps me a great deal.”
“Due to having a TV in our communal living room, service users are now able to socialise on a regular basis. Not only do they relax but also keep abreast of current affairs, not to mention the great excitement of the World Cup!”
“The tablets have enabled the women to maintain contact with their families & friends which has helped them immensely to sustain support networks and help them feel less isolated.”

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

In April 2016, 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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