Reaching Isolated People

Social isolation, and its effects on people’s well-being, is an issue affecting the lives of Islington residents in different parts of the borough and across all ages.  It has therefore been a core theme for Islington Giving since its inception.  Islington Giving supports initiatives that proactively seek to identify and reach out to the most isolated and vulnerable Islington residents.   A number of innovative strategies have been adopted to take forward this work.  This includes developing partnerships aimed at reaching more isolated residents, while offering a wider range of activities, area based initiatives that tackle social isolation through the building of social capital and maximising the use of local assets.

Islington Giving’s most recent “It’s Me – It’s You” campaign highlights and seeks to address the shocking levels of mental ill health in the borough.

All organisations funded through Islington Giving to reach isolated people deliver some or all of the following:

  • Helping residents to feel close to others and feel they have people they can turn to for company and support
  • Providing residents with a sense of belonging, helping them to feel happy within their communities and social networks
  • Connecting residents to opportunities to take part and get involved
  • Providing or creating opportunities that represent residents’ needs and interests
  • Increasing residents confidence to try new things and meet new people

Projects funded under the Reaching Isolated People theme include:

  • Saturday Socials – is a partnership project between North London Cares, All Change Arts, Arsenal in the Community, Cubit Arts and Age UK Islington offers a diverse programme of activities for older people in a range of venues.  Saturday Socials provide enticing offers, catering for all tastes and with wide appeal.

  • Help on Your Doorstep’s Good Neighbours Scheme – set up as a pilot in 2012 on the New River Green estate in the Canonbury area of Islington.  The Good Neighbours Scheme harnesses the strengths of local people who are seen as assets.  A variety of initiatives delivered by, and based on the genuine needs of the local community have been developed.  These range from encouraging small acts of kindness towards neighbours, coffee mornings, celebratory events and annual fun days to a parent support group for children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, a youth football team and community gardening.  The activities all share in common the underlying aim of developing a sense of pride in the local community encouraging social interaction and neighbourliness.  Due to its success Islington Giving was approached in 2015 by Peabody Housing Association to replicate the scheme.  Islington Giving now provides match funding with Peabody for a new Good Neighbours Scheme on the Priory Green estate in the Kings Cross area of Islington.  There are plans to develop further schemes in other deprived areas of Islington with high levels of social isolation.

  • Claremont’s Social Prescribing project – Islington Giving funds Claremont to encourage and facilitate active referrals from GP practices, helping to extend reach for older isolated people to its services with the long term intention of reducing pressure on NHS services.

“It’s Me – It’s You” campaign is a Mental Health and Wellbeing Programme which funds new projects targeting young people already suffering from or at high risk of developing poor mental health.  The Programme aims to prevent the escalation of problems that contribute to poor mental health while promoting positive mental health and wellbeing in young people.  It shares the Islington Giving approach, tailored to support positive mental health:

  • Increasing resilience – young people are more aware of the factors that can trigger poor mental health and are supported to deal with these challenges as they arise

  • Improving relationships – beyond new friendships and social networks, build trusting relationships that help increase confidence in accessing specialist mental health services.

  • Enjoying life – beyond traditional models of mental health interventions approaches such as the New Economics Foundation five ways to wellbeing promote positive mental health as part of an integrated model.

  • Better connected – people accessing services and the organisations that provide them
    are more aware of complimentary support available locally.

Projects funded under this Programme in 2016:

  • Body and SoulThe Foundations of Happiness Project works with young people who have attempted suicide or self harmed, providing therapeutic and peer led holistic support to increase resilience

  • A partnership between the Brandon Centre and Jobs in MindEmpowering Socially Anxious Young Men Project offers therapeutic outreach primarily to young men/boys to encourage access to further support

  • AbiandaThe Star Project works with gang affected young women to build resilience through participative approaches to build on the strengths of the young women.  The Project encourages awareness of unhealthy relationships, develops coping strategies and fosters empowerment in young women to create opportunities for exiting gang affiliations

  • Women’s Therapy CentreSupporting Socially Excluded Young Mums in Crisis Project builds trust through community-based outreach, specifically targeting young mums from Black and Minority Ethnic and Refugee communities.  It aims to increase coping and self-management skills and help plan positive futures for women and their children.