On this page, we have compiled a list of services that might be helpful to our beneficiaries. Here you will find ways to meet new people, how to stay safe online, and how to access assistance in the case of a power cut. We also want to continue growing this list, so if you know of any services that you think should be included, please let us know!
For people feeling lonely or isolated, meeting new people can be the biggest help and the biggest challenge. Here are some suggestions for ways to meet new people and make new friends:
Meetup lets you search for groups and activities in your area. Joining a group is a great way to meet people who share your interests and with whom you have things in common. Just type in your postcode to see what is going on near you!
Volunteering is a wonderful way to meet people. It can make you feel happy and productive, and can increase self-confidence and self-esteem. The NCVO has lots of advice on volunteering, and Do-it is a search engine which will show different volunteering options in your area.
For those who find it more difficult to leave the house. A befriender is a volunteer who visits you at home, or phones for a chat. There are lots of different services across the country, arranging befrienders for people with various needs. To find a scheme in your area, simply Google “Befriending services near me.”
We see first-hand the benefits of the Internet in bringing people together and overcoming loneliness. We also know that we all need to be aware of how to stay safe online. Because of this, we have collected some guidance on the topic below.
Child safety online
Staying safe online is particularly important for victims and survivors of domestic abuse. Women’s Aid have resources explaining some of the online risks for abuse survivors, and how to stay safe from those risks.
Adults and older people
AgeUK offers great advice to adults of all ages about Internet safety considerations and how to stay safe online.
Online support groups
There are a lot of online groups for people affected by particular life circumstances or health problems. These can provide a sense of community for people who struggle to get out and about. They can also be a great source of help, advice, knowledge and emotional support, from people who are experiencing similar challenges. Below is a selection of groups, but further support exists online.
NHS Apps Library
The NHS Apps Library brings together digital tools to help manage and improve health. The NHS uses a set of Digital Assessment Questions to make sure only safe and secure apps and digital tools are published in the library. To find out more, please click here.
Reduce blue light
We are all big fans of F.lux and Twilight, which automatically alter the colour of your computer, tablet or mobile screen depending on the time of day. A bright screen is great during the day, but at night it can keep you awake or make it hard to wind down. By reducing the blue light that your screens give out, these apps let you continue to use your tech in the evening without messing up your circadian rhythm.
Help during a power cut
Our friends at UK Power Networks have a special service to assist people who need extra support in the case of a power cut. This includes people who are elderly or disabled, those who rely on medical equipment, have dementia or a chronic illness, and those who are recovering from a period in hospital. If you would benefit from extra support, add your details to the Priority Services Register.
If you’re struggling to purchase items, such household appliances, you might be eligible for some financial support. Click here to go to a page on the Turn2Us website, which provides a list of charitable funds.
Reading Friends have put together a helpful toolkit which offers a detailed guide on how to help people who are lonely, through a range of initiatives. The toolkit is aimed at people with little or no previous experience of taking social action, but will also be of interest to existing groups and charities, who are looking to improve and develop their services.
Advice and Guidance
There are some national organisations that can offer advice and guidance for a wide range of circumstances.
Citizens Advice can help with issues around benefits, finance, housing, health, law and courts, immigration and more. The gov.uk website also offers advice on a wide range of issues, and signposts to services that can help.
Refugees, asylum seekers and migrants can use a new app called RefAid to see what aid is available to them in their area. It can be downloaded from the App Store (for Apple devices) or Google Play (for Android devices).
Sometimes, we all just need someone to talk to. If things are feeling tough and there is no-one around to talk to, the Samaritans are always available.