A FRESH appeal is being made to make Knutsford ‘a compassionate town’.

A new community project is offering a lifeline to anyone feeling lonely or facing a crisis.

Knutsford Together, which launched in November, aims to connect people with the right help and support.

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The team has already transformed the lives of 30 people and now needs your help to reach more people in need.

The search is on to find residents willing to become local connectors to put people in touch with the charity.

Nicola Marshall, chief officer of Knutsford Together, said: “It’s not about adding another job to your already busy day, becoming a volunteer or taking on a particular role.

“It’s not about committing hours of your time, becoming a counsellor or telling somebody what to do and how to live their life.

Knutsford Guardian: Knutsford Together chief officer Nicola MarshallKnutsford Together chief officer Nicola Marshall (Image: Newsquest)

“It is about feeling confident if you’re having a difficult conversation with someone and having the ability to tell them that support is available.

“It is about empowering others to find the help they need, giving something back to the community.”

Anyone and everyone can become a local connector.

All you have to do is tell people how they can contact the charity.

A short training course, which takes only one hour, will explain all you need to know to ‘make a difference to someone’s life’.

The benefits of helping to steer someone to get the help they need are immense.

Nicola said: “Acts of kindness reduce your stress and improve your mood.

“Being part of a solution can increase your feelings of optimism, confidence and control.”

A trained specialist will arrange to meet the person seeking help as often as required, accompanying them every step of the way for as long as it takes until their issues are resolved.

David Briggs, former Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire, founded the charity after listening to people living in poverty talk about the problems they faced trying to seek help.

Many were passed from pillar to post, having to explain their predicament again and again to different people.

Knutsford Guardian: Knutsford Together founder David BriggsKnutsford Together founder David Briggs (Image: Newsquest)

David said: “The problem is there is currently no system to make sure people get to the right organisations which can help them.

“We want to ensure that someone sits down and spends time with people to really understand and prioritise their issues.”

The charity is modelled on The Compassion Project in Somerset, which has reduced emergency hospital admissions by almost half.

“If an elderly person gets chest pains at 2am and lives alone, they dial 999 and end up in hospital,” said David, explaining that panic attacks can often be allayed if people have someone to turn to.

Social connectedness has a bigger impact on health than giving up smoking, reducing excessive drinking, obesity and any other preventative interventions.

“The biggest scourge in society today is loneliness,” said David.

“We want to make sure that no-one is lonely and everyone gets the help they need.

“The pleasure you get from changing someone else’s life is immeasurable.

“I am really excited and passionate about this.

“We want to make Knutsford become a really compassionate town.”

A talking café is open to anyone every Tuesday from 10am to 12 noon at Café on the Corner on Minshull Street.

To become a local connector or contact Knutsford Together call 07778 709198 or email help@knutsfordtogether.org.uk