Bringing our communities together

Melissa Dargue and Alicia Whittaker

A NEW group is helping to tackle loneliness and social isolation in Cleveleys.

The Far North Neighbourhood Health and Wellbeing team is hosting a monthly group at Cleveleys Health Centre that is helping bring people together in a social setting which is going from strength to strength.

The Health and Wellbeing team discovered through referrals and assessments of patients that there was a lack of social groups for nervous, anxious people who didn’t like large social settings and they decided to tackle the issue.

Alicia Whittaker, a team member, explained: “The group was set up about six months ago and came from an idea I had from a patient who was socially isolated and didn’t have family or friends. I found out the patient always felt safe at the doctors so this is why we hold the group there.

“Patients who are registered at Cleveleys GP practice are able to join the group if a referral is received and we have assessed that they are suitable for the group.

“We do different self-care work with our patients and they can also have a chat and something to eat.

“We give them the choice of what they want to do and want them to feel they can make decisions as a group.

“We try to make it informative for the patients and let them decide what they want from the group. We also offer hot and cold refreshment’s at no cost to the patient.

“All we ask is they make their own way to the centre and get their own way home  though staff are on hand to help them in and out of the centre at all times.

“Because of the success of the group, it has taken pressure away from our other services for patients and means our team is more freed up.

“But mainly the group is so important to our patients who really do feel the benefit from attending. It’s so nice to know they have someone to talk to and can get out the house to meet with friends.”

A regular member of the group, Margaret Bouhouch, is a resident at Balmoral Care Home in Cleveleys and she always looks forward to attending.

She said: “I really like the activities we do because I wouldn’t get out if I didn’t come to the group.

“The first time I came was last year and I’ve enjoyed it ever since. It’s lovely to meet and socialise with other people.”


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