The Point Eastleigh and Age Concern Eastleigh will provide additional help and support for residents in the local community thanks to a significant cash boost.

The organisations have been awarded £9800 from the Government’s Coronavirus Community Support Fund for their new project Call and Create, which will reach out to the Borough’s older and vulnerable residents over ten weeks. The project is supported by Eastleigh Borough Council, which owns and operates The Point.

Call and Create will aim to ease the heightened loneliness and isolation experienced by elderly and vulnerable residents due to COVID-19. The initiative feeds into the key aim of Eastleigh Borough Council to promote healthy communities: there is strong evidence that talking part in creative activities and alleviating loneliness both have a very positive effect on wellbeing.

Arts professionals engaged by The Point will speak to these older residents, exploring their lives and interests, culminating in the creation of a poem, story, or song. All of the produced work will be exhibited in The Point.

Artistic Director at The Point Sacha Lee said: “This will be a fantastic opportunity for The Point to work closely and in collaboration with Age Concern Eastleigh in reaching those vulnerable residents in our community who will be able to benefit from a regular dose of creativity and connection. The positive impact of the arts on people’s mental health is needed even more at the moment, and this is just the beginning of a project that we hope will be rolled out more widely.”

Chairman of Age Concern Eastleigh Devan Kandiah said: “The grant will enable Age Concern to continue and maintain our telephone befriending service. We believe talking is often the best way to start feeling better and this programme will reduce anxiety and prepare our elderly to love later life. The contacts will also help residents to prepare for the winter and overcome the stress created by Covid 19 restrictions on normal life.”

The Council’s Cabinet Member for Health, Councillor Tonia Craig, added: “Loneliness can have a serious impact on the wellbeing of older and more vulnerable people and, for many, the situation has been made worse by the coronavirus pandemic. Age Concern and The Point have done brilliantly to secure this grant and this really imaginative project should help alleviate feelings of anxiety among some of our isolated residents.”

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