Innovation Fund Feedback from our friend Lydia at Bubble Squeak Eat CIC
The Bubble Squeak Eat (BSE) CIC was awarded the Innovation Fund to provide wellbeing and socialising events that aims to bring the community closer together and ensure less people locally feel lonely and isolated, particularly among elderly residents in the local area.
From November-July BSE hosted monthly ‘Get Togethers’ bringing all members of their local community together as previously nothing locally like their project existed locally. Naturally as lockdown occurred they had to change their nature of delivery. They went on to online activities being delivered with activity packs being sent to each house so families and residents could engage in the activities.
BSE encouraged personal growth within the 5 Ways to Wellbeing. They enhanced people’s lives through reducing isolation. Lydia stated that each ‘Get Together’ event involved socialising with refreshments to help build intergenerational social cohesion. Lydia said that they focussed on an activity to meet the 1st Way to Wellbeing (Keep Learning) where residents learnt a new skill or take up a hobby. Some examples using the resources around them (School site manager volunteering wood craft sessions), knitting, accessible arts and crafts, puzzles, yoga or going to Wormwood scrubs (adjacent) to go blackberry picking. Lydia stated that she used the ingredients to make jam.
There were opportunities to learn something new or for residents to help teach each other a new skill, for example the older residents pairing up with younger residents to teach them how to do crosswords or play bingo had positive benefits for both sides. Residents subconsciously volunteered their own time within the event as they are teaching others new skills.
Lydia stated that the project met the 2nd Way to Wellbeing (Give) through volunteering and people giving their time to help others. Lydia feedback that his naturally happened in a subtle form without residents realising, which naturally tied in with the 3rd Way to Wellbeing (Connect) as it improved peoples mood while helping or do something for others, which naturally made users feel better!
Lydia stated that engaging in the social activities, held regularly provided more local opportunities to address the 4th Way to Wellbeing (Be Active). These social activities enabled residents to meet new people and helped individuals to feel less lonely.
Lydia reported that isolation is high locally, particularly amongst the elderly, those less mobile and other less expected groups such as new mothers. She felt that BSE reduced this through building relationships with others in the locality, socialising through learning new skills and residents attending the sessions regularly.
Each session was led by a team of local volunteers who gave their time to help others and who helped to plan and deliver sessions, promote events locally, as well as recruit and welcome new members.
Lydia reported that there were 352 residents benefitted from the Old Oak Get Together project. Lydia said that Covid affected the project naturally, which meant they had less engagement whilst online because elderly residents can sometimes be resistant to online activities and prefer face to face activities.
Lydia fed back: “We plan to continue delivering online families activities and train elderly residents in using and engaging online to help reduce isolation so hope to find funding to continue this projects. We hope at some stage we will be able to deliver activities where people can once again meet up even if it is in a socially distanced format.”