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WaveLength Radios for the over 70s our 1st response to Covid-19

The Covid-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact across the world. In the UK, the past 17 months have been transformational and many people did not fully anticipate the range of impacts that this virus could cause. WaveLength’s services have never been more in demand, helping the lonely and isolated. In March 2020, WaveLength launched a radio distribution scheme for the over 70s who were vulnerable and self-isolating. The purpose of the scheme was to relieve loneliness and isolation during the first lockdown and to help the over-70s feel more connected to the outside world. Juliet, 70, who benefited from the scheme said: “The radio has helped with my mental health. It has helped through distraction and refocusing, as I am often at crisis point. The radio has been really positive for me, it really has saved me.” It is a common misconception that every home has a radio. However, within the first few hours of the launch of our scheme, it became evident that this is not the case. The day after the launch, WaveLength had over 90,000 people visit the website and, by day two, we had received over 9,000 applications. This was an overwhelming response which highlighted the need for support. WaveLength’s staff worked tirelessly to support those most in need, prioritising those who did not have a radio or broadband access, and those who were living alone. Over-70s who were caring for others were also placed in the high-need category. The scheme, which ended in April 2020, showed an outpouring of concern and thoughtfulness from people who were nominating their grandparents, friends and neighbours to receive a vital radio set. WaveLength was able to help over 5,000 people through the Radio Scheme. We know from our work that a radio set brings comfort and is a helpful tool in relieving loneliness.

Football coach and player take on open water challenge in aid of WaveLength charity.

Football lovers, Guru Sobers and David Carty are taking on a chilly challenge to raise vital funds for WaveLength charity. Guru Sobers who is an elite sports performance coach and David Carty who is a professional footballer will be swimming in open water for 30 days! This will involve swimming 25 metre laps every day which will total to 15,000 metres once the challenge has ended. The lads will be open water swimming in lakes, ponds and water lidos. Both are passionate about mental and physical health and want to encourage people to be brave and jump out of their comfort zones.  They will both be facing their own fears and challenges by taking on the cold waters each day to inspire those around them to raise money for WaveLength. “One of the feelings millions of us experienced during the lockdown was loneliness. Our usual ways of seeing family, friends and familiar faces had been put on pause. We were fortunate enough to use technology, TV, and social media platforms to keep in touch with our friends and loved ones. However, not everyone can afford or access technology and WaveLength does a great job to connect lonely and isolated people with technology they so desperately need.” WaveLength have been fighting loneliness for 81 years through the provision of technology. We donate radios, tablets and TVs to those who are lonely because of age, poor physical or mental health, who are isolated or by circumstances which make it hard for them to leave their home. We also support local organisations such as Women’s Aid Refuges, Care Homes, homeless shelters, hospices and more. This technology can help to maintain and increase the number of meaningful connections people have in their lives and act as a window to the world. The gift of technology helps bring people together, keep them informed, and breaks the silence which many lonely people live with on a daily basis.  The guys will be updating their progress on their social media accounts so follow them on Instagram at @guru_sobers and @carty. To donate and support their effort please visit their Go fund me page.

WaveLength donated tablets to a local group who help individuals living with mental health difficulties

Ananda 9 is a non-profit voluntary organisation providing day to day opportunities for people with enduring mental health difficulties. They generally support individuals   from the Asian community. The activities are designed to promote well-being, self-inclusion, confidence and independence. WaveLength awarded 4 tablets for the group in September 2019 to prevent loneliness and isolation. The client group ranges from 30-70 years old and they all have serious mental health issues. Many people in the group had little to no experience in using a tablet before. The tablets have been extremely beneficial to Ananda 9’s members as they have learnt how to switch the tablets on and off and have used them to take part in weekly zoom activities. The group leader working for Ananda 9 said: “We do zoom activities now, 3 days a week and it’s going brilliant. We do yoga, gentle exercise, arts and crafts. And we do quizzes and singing. Oh, they love singing! Before they were shy to sing in front of everybody and they weren’t confident, now because they are at home and alone, it’s kept them occupied. They are writing it down and singing full songs it’s like a competition, including myself I’ve been doing it too! It’s amazing! Some people join for one day, some come all three days. At least 15-20 people each time we have attending. They really appreciate the tablets. They are also watching cartoons and playing games. Technology has been really great. So, they have really learnt a lot, I never thought they could do that.” Not only has the equipment helped them to continue running activities during the lockdown, it has also helped their members to socialise with others and maintain meaningful connections. One young lady from the group that wouldn’t normally interact with the other members has become a lot more talkative as Ananda 9’s group leader tells me that whenever an activity on zoom begins, she is always eager to speak first and ask the group “how are you, what are we doing today…”.