I appreciate that you must all be very busy at this very challenging time, but could I please request a few minutes to briefly explain about our service, Better Together Norfolk, a service that could make a huge difference to so many of your patients and, consequently, to your practice.
Better Together Norfolk is an organisation, funded by Norfolk County Council, to support those at risk of becoming increasingly lonely and/or socially isolated.
As you will be aware, loneliness and Social Isolation can have severe and lasting negative consequences on health and wellbeing:
- Loneliness is likely to increase your risk of death by 26% (Holt-Lunstad, 2015).
- Loneliness, living alone and poor social connections are as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. (Holt-Lunstad, 2010).
- Loneliness and social isolation are associated with an increased risk of developing coronary heart disease and stroke.
- Loneliness and social isolation put individuals at greater risk of cognitive decline and dementia.
The aim of Better Together Norfolk is to reach out and support those at risk of, or experiencing, loneliness and social isolation before those more serious, chronic and acute conditions mentioned above reach the threshold for more intensive, (and expensive) primary healthcare.
Better Together Norfolk delivers community support on a one-to-one, face-to-face basis via our friendly Life Connector service. Life connectors are all patch-based and have tremendous knowledge of groups and activities in their area. By supporting people to meet new people, make new friends and engage with community activities, (both practically and emotionally) out life connector team have made a huge difference to the lives of Norfolk people.
We also have Community Development Workers who assist with setting up and supporting existing groups and also have small grass roots grants to develop peer support networks to enable people to share experiences and support each other.
We accept referrals for anybody over the age of 18. We operate on a time-limited basis to support people to connect – and find areas of interest. We work and liaise closely with our referrers to ensure the best possible outcomes for our clients, often working as part of a multi-disciplinary network offering the client a holistic approach that addresses the various, interlinked issues that our clients often face.
We also offer a free and friendly helpline who can answer all of your queries. They offer advice, signposting and support. If you are unsure whether a referral would be appropriate or if you would just like to find out more about our service then please call our free helpline on 0300 303 3920 to speak to one of our friendly and knowledgeable helpline team.
Alternatively, you can find out more about our service and access our quick and easy referral form on www.bettertogethernorfolk.org.uk.