Isolation and Loneliness

The St John’s Centre where Isleworth Voluntary Care Network have their office.

This week I attended a lecture in which we were looking at how the church can meet some of the biggest social needs of our time. One of the areas consistently identified by many reports as critical for our society is around isolation and loneliness. The recent results of the BBC Loneliness Experiment indicated that as much as 40% of young people feel disconnected despite (or because of?) the digital connection of social media. The problem of isolation extends to the elderly with a quarter describing themselves as lonely.  Church is an important place many people who would otherwise experience loneliness stay connected with others in community. It lies at the heart of who we say we are – a diverse community of people who are known, loved and remembered by God in His family.

There are of course many other local organisations working hard to foster community life. The Tuesday Club and the Isleworth Community Voluntary Care Network (IVCN) are two groups based at the St John’s Centre over the road from St John’s that seek to help the elderly remain connected and engaged with community life. IVCN organise afternoon teas, befriending and coordinate volunteers to take the elderly or less able to appointments. This last week IVCN had its AGM in which the organisation’s story was described:

“At the end of the year we will be celebrating 30 years since the IVCN was founded. The Network was founded through initiative of two health visitors and a practice nurse. The team found that isolation, loneliness and lack of transport for hospital and GP appointments were the prominent conditions that needed solutions.

During the year we’ve held our usual tea afternoons, finishing with a cream tea in July in the hall here. Quite a few more clients have joined us during the year and this has resulted in a lot more trips to doctors, hospitals which can sometimes put a strain on our volunteers in the office to find enough drivers.”

If you have some time during the week when you are free, especially if you have access to a car, would you consider giving your time to help combat loneliness and isolation in our community through the work of IVCN? If so, please contact them directly at 020 8569 8254.

David Maclure