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UHNM Charity awarded £500k to help combat loneliness

UHNM Charity has been awarded half a million pounds to work with community and voluntary groups from across Staffordshire to help to tackle loneliness and social isolation as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

NHS Charities Together has awarded the £500,000 grant to UHNM Charity as part of its Community Partnerships Grants programme.  

Fourteen community groups and projects from the Staffordshire and Stoke Integrated Care System (ICS) will receive a slice of the grant funding to help address the issue of loneliness and social isolation.

UHNM Charity worked with other organisations including Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Staffordshire County Council and Support Staffordshire to identify the projects who will get a share of the half a million pound grant over the next two years.

The grant will fund a range of initiatives including improvements to existing services for people at risk of loneliness and isolation, the creation of new projects and groups to improve social connection and the use of new technology.  

Those benefitting include Beam Staffs, an organisation based in Stafford who provide opportunities to people with low to medium learning disabilities.

A grant of almost £50,000 will enable Beam to provide a series of day activities aimed at improving day-to-day living skills and personal independence helping to boost self-confidence.   

Mike Howell, Chief Officer at Beam Staffs said: “Our clients are knocking on the doors of different life experience and this grant funding enables us to open them for them. It adds strings to our bow and our current offer. Where at times previously we might not have the staff or resources, now we’re able to find a way to say yes to more clients activities, be that cooking or employment skills training or even a trip to the shops or cinema.” 

Other initiatives planned thanks to grants from this project include the creation of a weekly Friendship Café at the New Vic Theatre in Newcastle-under-Lyme. The café, funded by a grant of almost £30,000 will be open to local people wishing to attend free drop-in sessions where they can meet new friends and take part in health and wellbeing-focused activities.

Lisa Thomson, Director of Communications and Charity at University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust (UHNM) said: “Data shows that almost half of all adults experience some degree of loneliness in their lifetime and this has been made worse by the pandemic.  

“It’s thanks to the hundreds of thousands of people that got behind NHS Charities Together’s Covid-19 appeal and of course the incredible fundraising efforts of Captain Sir Tom Moore that we are able to work in partnership with community and voluntary groups to tackle loneliness and isolation in our region. UHNM Charity is proud to be a part of this project helping to improve the health and wellbeing of thousands of local people and we look forward to working with and supporting the local groups.”

NHS Charities Together launched its Community Partnership Grants Programme in September 2020 in recognition of the work that voluntary and community groups do to support the work of the NHS.



Grant Awarded

North Staffs LinkLine

Telephone Befriending: Providing support and friendship to older residents of Newcastle under Lyme Borough who have little or no contact with the outside world through weekly calls from a volunteer




Transforming Communities Together

Places of Welcome: Provides a volunteer ‘buddy’ to befriend and attend workshops for those without family members or those whose first language isn’t English.


£ 24,992.00


Home-Start Staffordshire Moorlands

Tackling Loneliness: Providing regular visits within the home by a volunteer or coordinator to those needing NHS services.


Beth Johnson Foundation

Widowed, Isolated and Lonely: Supporting older people using friendship groups to make new friends and get involved in social activities.




Carelink Digital Engagement Project: Providing support to vulnerable people and those in crisis through a dedicated app, online resources, group sessions and video calls. 


Heart of Tamworth Community Project (HoT)

HoT Lunch Club: A club for those isolated and alone who rarely leave home due to lack of confidence or physical constraints.


Staffordshire Wildlife Trust

Wilder Youth: To support young people with an interest in wildlife to meet like-minded people, spent time in nature and learn new skills.


Beam Staffs

Beam Activities: Provides people with low to medium learning disabilities with a series of day activities that aims to encourage the creation of friendships, improvement of self-confidence, reduction of anxiety and development of personal skills.


Whittington and Fisherwick Good Neighbourhood Scheme

The scheme provides community events for frail, elderly, vulnerable and isolated residents of Whittington and Fisherwick.


Staffordshire Network for Mental Health

Toolbox Workshops: Workshops covering anxiety management, mindfulness and positivity and confidence and self-esteem.  


MHA North and South

Loneliness Outreach Project: Provides a range of preventative, community-based services aimed at reducing social isolation and improving health and wellbeing.


Harvey Girls

Thinking Differently: Using a dedicated telephone line and social media the initiative will engage with families supporting loneliness and isolation before assigning a support worker.



Meeting Point

Transport and activities for the disabled: Provides a range of drop-in sessions including guest speakers, entertainers and crafts. Transport to and from sessions is provided.  



New Vic Theatre

New Vic Open House Friendship Café: Drop-in sessions where local people can get involved with health and wellbeing activities.


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