Natasha Jackson is a support coordinator for Community Action Norfolk Connect, which helps individuals who are struggling for loneliness and isolation. Ahead of its first ever social event at Waterloo Park in Norwich on Monday, she explains how she hopes it will be the first of many
I work as the Support Coordinator for CAN Connect. This involves triaging clients, management of volunteers, attending events and promoting the service as a client or volunteer.
What is CAN Connect, and how can it help people?
CAN Connect is a project ran by Community Action Norfolk and Future Projects to help individuals tackle loneliness and social isolation in Breckland and North Norfolk. Our aim is help those reconnect with their community whether it’s signposting to groups and clubs or offer more long-term support by being paired with a volunteer of a similar interest or being paired to a Life Connector, which is essentially more like a Life Coach. Please take note that all clients are viewed on an individual basis and where we can’t support an individual, we can signpost them to a suitable organisation. There is also LILY and Better Together Norfolk who covers other areas of Norfolk. Please see which service is in your area.
Have you noticed that loneliness and isolation have become bigger issues since the start of the pandemic?
Loneliness and isolation have always been a massive issue in Norfolk because of its rurality – digitally and physically. Norfolk struggles with sufficient broadband, transport and mental health support, and then add the lack of neighbours in the mix, it all becomes rather isolating. We believe that the pandemic has just added more fuel to the fire.
What’s happening next week and how can people get involved?
Monday 25th July will be CAN Connect’s first ever social event! We are hosting a day out at Waterloo Park that is opened to all to help reduce feelings of loneliness and learn something new. Meet us upstairs on the pavilion café terrace between 2–4pm to meet someone new, find out about how volunteering opportunities or maybe you would like to be a client?
What can people expect on the day?
The event is informal which the aim to encourage those to reconnect with their community with a piece of a cake and a chatter.
Any future plans/events you can share?