The pandemic, including the periods of lockdown, have highlighted how alone many people can feel but it was before the pandemic that Rev Susan Chambers in Grimsby and Cleethorpes Circuit started to bring this issue to the forefront of people's minds.
The Circuit initiative now known as "Talk Together" is about gradually trying to change mind sets so that we automatically think of and include those who are on their own or who may feel lonely in their situation. Different churches in the circuit have taken the initiative on to varying degrees.
Sometimes it may just be about making a phone call to someone on their own. Susan said "one phone call can make a huge difference". For others the initiative has encouraged them to use and develop the activities that they already put on at church. For example intentionally inviting people to the card craft group. One church in the circuit has hosted tea and cake afternoons. On one occasion, when the entertainment was provided by a ukulele band, around 90 people attended! Another church partnered up with the parish council, local shop and pub to provide a Christmas meal to those on their own. Many of these were delivered to homes.
Susan encourages the churches to look at what they already do which could be developed into something more. She doesn't under estimate the hard work that it takes to deliver the various activities that churches are trying to do but at its heart this initiative is about being mindful about people who may be feeling lonely. She stressed the importance of really working hard at communication. "Facebook works well in this area but must go hand in hand with posters, leaflets and personal invitations so as not to exclude anyone".
In August 2021 the circuit funded an external trainer to deliver a listening course which was attended by around 30 people. This was very well received and it is hoped to repeat it for those who were unable to attend the first time.
If you'd like more information on the Talk Together initiative please contact Rev Susan Chambers via the District Office.
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