A Successful Year Tackling Isolation In The New Forest

SuccessfullNew Forest Live at Home, run by the charity MHA, is tackling isolation across the New Forest District to help older people live independently for longer.

The scheme which launched last year, offers regular activities such as outings for pub lunches, craft tea, as well as ‘Fun Drum Circles’, ‘Singing for Wellbeing sessions’ and Café Club. Having been chosen to be part of the Big Lottery funded ‘Dementia Adventure’ three-year research project, members have found themselves being taken out into nature and enjoying the fresh air. It also provides information on other relevant services, as well as volunteer befrienders to meet older people for company and conversation.

Katie Rickman, Scheme Manager of New Forest Live at Home said: “A key part of our scheme is tackling loneliness and isolation. People get health benefits from having company, conversation and friendship, that’s why our befriending service and activities are so important. We have had an overwhelming increase in numbers since we started a year ago, so we are obviously meeting a real need for the older people in the New Forest District.”

New Forest Live at Home member Jo has shared “New Forest Live at Home has helped get to places I normally wouldn’t be able to get to, also you are there if something happened to me and I probably wouldn’t of got to know these people if you hadn’t been here”

Celebrating its first anniversary with a Quiz Night, kindly hosted by The Borough Arms, Lymington, Katie said: “We have received great kindness and support from our local community with our Pub Lunch and first quiz night being a great success. The evening helped to raise valuable funds towards transport which is a difficulty for the older people of the New Forest.”

The evening boasted a quiz and raffle with prizes kindly donated from Costa Coffee, J W Hair & Beauty, Clive Sutton Solicitors, Sen Spa, Salt Water Dessert Bar, Tesco, Marks and Spencer and Milford Car Wash.

Debbie Horlock, Community Programme Co-Ordinator for New Forest Live at Home scheme added: “We have set up a number of activities, but we are always listening to our member’s feedback. We’ll keep tailoring and adapting the scheme to suit our community and what older people want and need.”

Volunteers are a vital part of the work that New Forest Live at Home does in supporting older people. Whether visiting the homes of older people to provide companionship, spending time at one of Live at Home’s clubs to help things run smoothly, or providing other kinds of essential services and support, the work done by volunteers makes an invaluable difference to the lives of older people in the community.

For more information about the New Forest Live at Home scheme call 07483 112138 or email