Britain is in the midst of a loneliness epidemic. A survey by the Jo Cox Commission in 2017 revealed that nine million of us in the UK are affected by it. So, no wonder that last year the Government even appointed the world’s first loneliness minister, Tracey Crouch.
And no wonder that the Marmalade Trust aims to raise awareness of isolation in the UK. Loneliness hurts you physically as well as mentally. It has even been said that it can be as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. It can raise blood pressure, and cause diabetes and obesity. Technology is a big factor: we send emails rather than talk, we have virtual team workspaces rather than speaking in person. We use LinkedIn and Facebook to keep in touch. One health expert said, “We’re getting out of the habit of actual conversations.” People who work from home and who also live alone can go days without speaking to anyone. No wonder that the millennial generation, for whom technology accounts for an increasing percentage of their interaction, are reporting high levels of anxiety. Experts advise that you simply try and make as many social connections as you can, however brief. Make tea for someone at work, or chat to your neighbour.
All our churches across the DAMASCUS Parish offer opportunities for meeting people and making friends – whether it’s the Community Café in Sutton Courtenay; the weekly Pebbles Group in Drayton for babies, toddlers and their carers; Tea and Chat in Milton; the monthly coffee morning in Appleford or the Church Fete on the Village Green in Steventon coming up on 06 July; the summer holiday club for children or just meeting regularly for worship and fellowship on a Sunday morning. All these, and many more events are part of the fabric of our communities and help individuals to reach out to one another and extend the hand of friendship. When you see something advertised in your parish magazine why not join in? You just might be surprised at what you gain!
The Reverend Helen Kendrick, Rector of the DAMASCUS Parish
Oxfordshire has been handed a multi-million pound funding boost to help build new roads, including a new bridge across the River Thames. In yesterday's spring statement, the Chancellor Philip Hammond announced that Oxfordshire County Council will get the £218million it asked for to pay for four projects in and around Didcot. The money, from the Housing Infrastructure Fund, will improve the road network to support the building of thousands of new homes.
Ian Hudspeth, leader of Oxfordshire County Council said to the Oxford Mail : “This is excellent news and shows the government recognises the importance of this area locally and nationally and the strength of our proposals to enable and sustain expected growth. "It’s a much-needed boost and part of our wider plans for Oxfordshire so that communities, residents and businesses can thrive."
The schemes sharing the funding are the widening of the A4130 from Milton Interchange towards Didcot; a new Science Bridge over the A4130; a new Culham to Didcot river crossing between the A4130 and A415; and a Clifton Hampden bypass. All are intended to make it easier to travel between new housing estates and key employment sites including the Culham Science Centre and Harwell Campus and will come with walking and cycling options.
The council has previously said that once funding was confirmed work could start within five years. Jane Murphy, leader of South Oxfordshire District Council, described the announcement as 'a significant moment' for everybody living and working in Didcot and the surrounding area. She added: "I’m delighted that we’ve been a part of this successful bid to bring much-needed infrastructure to our district – this award demonstrates that by working closely with government, delivering on growth, and building positive working relationships with other councils, we can deliver much needed improvements for our residents.”
The spring statement also saw the Government confirm it's commitment to the so-called Oxford to Cambridge Arc, which includes all the land between Oxford, Milton Keynes and Cambridge. It published a joint declaration between Government and local partners that includes an ambition for one million new homes to be built across the arc by 2050. Ministers have analysed the economic opportunities and challenges facing the arc and how a commitment to nature and the environment can be incorporated into the plans for growth. The Chancellor also pledged to invest £81 million in state-of-the-art laser technology at the Extreme Photonics Centre in Oxfordshire.
Do you feel that you could offer support to someone in order to make a difference to their life? If so, you could be just the person we are looking for!!
The Oxfordshire Shared Lives Scheme supports carers to provide paid care and support in their own home to vulnerable adults.
People who use the service need practical and emotional support in order to live their lives more fully and independently and feel part of a family household. They may have a learning disability, physical disability or mental health need or they could be an older person or someone with dementia.
Here in Oxfordshire we are keen to recruit people from all walks of life who feel they can offer this type of paid support in their own home. It could be anything from occasional short breaks or day time support through to a longer term, full time arrangement. The support that our carers give makes a huge difference to the lives of people using the service, often enabling them to experience new opportunities and reach new goals.
No matter what type of arrangement our carers provide, they all receive on-going support and training from a team of qualified social workers to ensure delivery of high quality, person centred care. They could also be paid up to just over £400 per week for each person they support.
There are also regular opportunities to meet up with other carers and people who use the service at social and information events so a wider support network is also available.
If you have a spare room to offer and would like to play a key part in making a positive difference to someone’s life, then we really want to hear from you!
Call the Oxfordshire Shared Lives Scheme on 01865 897971 or visit our website www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/sharedlives