A SCHEME providing a befriending support service has won new grant funding after being nominated by GPs.

Connecting Chelford works with people in the village to support lonely and vulnerable residents by matching them to a local befriending volunteer.

GPs from Chelford Surgery submitted the project for a Healthy Communities Grant from Assura, the specialist property company which looks after their medical centre building.

Practices working in the company’s 550 buildings around the country were invited to put forward schemes which made a difference to health for their patients.

Dr Sharjeel Yasin, a GP partner at Chelford Surgery: “Connecting Chelford has developed from the kindness and hard work of residents to become an invaluable service in helping tackle loneliness and isolation for many of our patients.

“It is wonderful to see how much this service means to the volunteers running the service and the patients who receive the help.

“We are extremely grateful that the community around Chelford can benefit from their work and the effect it has on physical and mental health.”

Lilian, one of the members of the Connecting Chelford club, said: “Since joining the weekly bowling sessions I have met lots of new friends and feel more involved with the community.

I really enjoy the exercise and feel it has made a big difference to my life. I don’t feel so lonely now and always look forward every week to meeting up with everyone.”

Jonathan Murphy, CEO of Assura, said: “We hear so much in the media about the pressures facing the NHS due to loneliness – and it’s been particularly striking to see that theme running through many of these nominations.

“This is invaluable insight from GPs about the community projects which make the biggest difference to health for their patients, and we’re absolutely delighted to support them through our buildings.”


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