Buxton community charity gets £5,500 grant to support befriending service for older and isolated people

A Buxton community charity has received a welcome boost with a £5,500 grant to support its befriending service for older and isolated people.

Friday, 8th October 2021, 4:51 pm

Connex Community Support was handed the extra funding by the Hall Bank Trust, another local charity which has been working with its partners to deliver equipment, services and facilities for older Buxton residents since 1948.

Gill Geddes, chief executive of Connex, said: “This will make such a difference to the lives of isolated older people in our area, who have experienced a very difficult 18 months or so.

“The pandemic has served to highlight the importance of befriending services, as many older people were advised to shield, and consequently what little social interaction they may have had all ceased. We adapted by delivering a telephone based service when we couldn’t visit people in person, and it has proved to be a lifeline for so many of our clients.”

From left, Connex volunteer Pat Gyongyosi, client Edna Campbell, befriending team leaders Emma Wilson and Rachael Mitchell, Roy Pickles and Roddie McLean from the Hall Bank Trust, and the Mayor and Mayoress of High Peak, Paul and Mary Hardy.

One of the older people whom Connex supports, Edna Campbell, attended the cheque presentation with her volunteer befriender Pat Gyongyosi. Edna has become a real advocate of the service and has recently been working with Pat to write down her memoirs as a dancer and dance teacher in Buxton.

Connex runs transport, care and support services for older and disabled people across the Derbyshire Peaks and Dales, and managers intend to continue the telephone service alongside face-to-face visits, which are now being carefully re-introduced.

There are also plans to launch other new befriending activities, such as an online forum for younger isolated people, subject to further funding.

Business development officer Debbie Hackett said: “We are so grateful to Hall Bank Trust for this grant – they do such good work helping charities like ours. Connex does rely on grants like this to enable us to continue to offer the befriending service for free.

“This money from Hall Bank will be used to promote the service, so that more people are aware of the help and companionship they can access. We will also be working to recruit extra volunteers to help us deliver the service to more people.”

For more information on the charity’s services, visit www.connex.org.uk or call 01298 23970.

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