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Campaign aims to ease loneliness this winter

Residents across Bridgend County Borough are being asked to back the fourth Great Winter Get Together campaign as it kicks off this week.

The campaign marks a month-long, UK-wide celebration aimed at bringing communities and people together in a safe way. The idea was inspired by the late MP Jo Cox, who believed passionately in reducing loneliness and isolation.

Taking forward her vision of a “less lonely, more connected world”, the campaign offers simple ways to connect in the community, and through engaging virtual events.

Featuring a different theme each week, the campaign suggests safe ways to connect, including sending ‘thank you’ postcards which you can download from The Great Get Together website.

The Great Winter Get Together is a wonderful way of bringing people together at a time of year that can be difficult for some.

Bridgend County Borough’s residents have shown a tremendous sense of community spirit throughout the Covid-19 pandemic by looking out for their neighbours and finding new ways to connect with each other through online events and catch ups. Thank you for helping vulnerable people in your communities in so many different ways and I hope you continue to do so safely.

The Great Winter Get Together is another fantastic example of the hard work and generosity of spirit that helps tackle loneliness and isolation.

Cabinet member for social services and early help Nicole Burnett

Heidi Bennett CEO of Bridgend Association of Voluntary Organisations (BAVO) said: “Isolation and loneliness has been a long-standing issue in our communities. We are particularly fortunate in Bridgend County Borough to have the 'Community Companions' scheme which offers one-to-one online and telephone befriending and welfare calls and visits.

“There are also a number of other voluntary and community groups running excellent befriending projects such as Mental Health Matters and Bridgend Carers Centre to name just a few. These services run consistently throughout the year and are a lifeline for hundreds of people.

“The success of these schemes relies heavily on volunteers so we take this opportunity to publicly thank those residents in Bridgend who selflessly give their time to help others.”

The campaign is also being backed by First Minister Mark Drakeford and Welsh Government.

The Deputy Minister and Chief Whip, Jane Hutt, said: “Anyone can experience loneliness, but winter can be a particularly difficult time, and especially this year.

“Connecting with friends and family through the pandemic has been difficult, but many people have found innovative ways to link up through online events, or by supporting others in their community.

“From those who have stood on doorsteps to speak to neighbours who would otherwise have spent days and weeks alone; to community groups who have set up internet catch-ups for people whose families live far away; to support groups set up to help care workers; to groups of neighbours who have found valuable ways to work together, raising funds or making products to help the NHS: I want to thank each and every one of you for helping the most vulnerable people in your communities in so many different ways.

“Through your ingenuity, you have connected with people who would otherwise have been isolated and alone. Thank you for everything you have done. Please continue to support your communities safely.”

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