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News > Kindness Programme awarded £100k to tackle isolation and loneliness

Kindness Programme awarded £100k to tackle isolation and loneliness

As part of the Scottish Government's £1 million Summer Fund, Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland has been awarded £100,000 to boost Kindness services.

The funding will be used to help reach more people through our Kindness Programme, helping to tackle isolation and loneliness in Scotland.

Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland has been named as one of nine organisations to receive funding as part of the Scottish Government’s £1 million Summer Fund which aims to tackle loneliness and isolation as a result of the pandemic.

It comes as part of a £10 million commitment from the Scottish Government to support a new five-year social isolation and loneliness plan.

"Isolation and loneliness have been exacerbated by the pandemic," explains Jane-Claire Judson, CEO of Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland.

"In Scotland, 44%-54% of people reported feeling lonely between July 2020 and May 2021. This will have a major impact on people’s long-term health and risk of developing serious health problems.

"Through our Kindness Programme, our Kindness Callers have been there for people who had no one else to turn to and it has a life-changing impact on both the person receiving the call and our volunteers."

Spreading kindness

The Kindness Programme, which launched at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020, recruited over 6,000 volunteers who have delivered over 35,200 acts of kindness in our communities – including phone calls, shopping trips, dog walks and sharing social media messages.

"It is essential that we continue to tackle isolation and loneliness across the country and with this funding we can reach more people who are alone and in need of help," adds Jane-Claire Judson.

The £100,000 funding will be used to expand the reach of the programme to support more people across Scotland who are feeling isolated and lonely and in need of help.

Irene benefits from weekly phone calls with Kindness Volunteer William.

Call of hope

This funding boost will help us reach more people like Irene Herkes, 80, who has found lockdown particularly tough. Living alone in her Haddington home, Irene felt hemmed in by the four walls and was missing her family and friends.

One call to the Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland Advice Line changed things for the better for the pensioner. She was put in touch with Kindness volunteer William and now she can’t wait for their weekly chat.

Irene, who has a heart condition and has had a stroke, says: "It means such a lot to me that William makes that call once a week. He’s like how every mother would like her son to be.

"I struggle being in the house all the time. I don’t want to burden my family as they have enough going on, so it’s great to have William to speak. He talks to me about his Gran, and I think that is why he can relate to me and help

"His calls always cheer me up and give me a bit of hope. It’s great to know someone else cares enough to give you a ring every week."

Civil servant William, of Glasgow, says his own Gran was the inspiration for him signing up to become a Kindness Call volunteer.

He says: "I know my Gran found it hard not seeing her family, and I wanted to help others in the same situation. Irene is on her own and doesn’t get to see her family as much as she wants to, and that can make her feel down.

"I love having a chit-chat with Irene and talking about all the things we’ve got in common, like our love of football. Her family is all Celtic mad and so is mine.

"We try to avoid talking about Covid-19 and lockdown because it’s nice to take our minds off it for the time we’re on the phone – it’s like an escape for me and I hope it is for Irene, too."

If you – or someone you know – would benefit from help from our incredible Kindness Volunteers, please call us on 0808 801 0899 or sign up for Kindness support online here:

People are leaving hospital feeling scared and alone. You can change that.

Your donation can help people do more than just survive – you can help them really live.


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