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Independent Arts and Newport Carisbrooke Parish Council have teamed up to deliver a Community Connections service to Newport which will focus on improving the well-being of vulnerable local residents especially those at risk of isolation and loneliness.

The service will see the appointment of Community Connectors who will be able to help support individuals to access local groups and activities that are designed to build confidence and give lifelong tools to improve well-being.

Age UK Isle of Wight has found loneliness is a growing problem for older people on the Island where 1 in 6 older Islanders aged 65+ live alone. Furthermore, a study by The Co-op and the British Red Cross revealed over 9 million people in the UK, across all adult ages, are either always or often lonely.

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A person can be referred to a number of activities either by meeting Newport’s Community Connectors or visiting the well-being hub at the People’s Pop-up Gallery located at 33 High street, Newport, or through a referral from other organisations such as Age UK and Barnardos. There will also be a dedicated phone service and information on the Independent Arts website and social
media pages as well as through

There’s a vast range of projects that run Island-wide that people can be referred to and all are free of charge. These include activities such as SingAbout sessions helping older people and their carers to have fun and make friends or Singing for Breathing which helps people manage their respiratory conditions. Individuals will be encouraged to unleash their artistic abilities at the Creative Cafe working with art practitioners, or building confidence at the Anxiety Cafe which helps people struggling with anxiety, depression and other mental health issues. In all, every week between 500-600 Islanders attend workshops, projects and activities facilitated by Independent Arts.

Kate Ball, Independent Arts Chief Executive, said:

“We really welcome this opportunity that has been provided by NCPC and the Isle of Wight Council to provide a local service to reach out to vulnerable individuals and help them feel less isolated,
alone and marginalised. Independent Arts have been doing this for over 30 years and this new service will build upon this work allowing us to support more people.”

Julie Jones-Evans, Chair of NCPC, said:

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“Moving into supporting local, vulnerable people in this way is a new development for the Parish Council. This is aligned with our strategic plan and the aims of Shaping Newport.

“The project will be fully monitored and evaluated throughout its year long trial. If successful the Parish Council may wish to continue the support. We are very excited about working with Independent Arts who have a very impressive track record in this field and who are based just metres away from our office!”

As an established Newport-based charity, Independent Arts also has existing infrastructure both physical and administrative necessary for the Community Connections service role, as well as excellent relationships with Newport based organisations and key agencies.

To enquire about the post, call 01983 822437 or email [email protected].

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Paul O'Rourke

Who thinks up this airy fairy stuff? An assisted walk in the country would do far more good. I’m over 65, disabled and live alone but I wouldn’t touch this stuff with a barge pole.

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