The Fund has six Community Engagement Workers based in the East of England – Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Hampshire and West Sussex
The two-year pilot programme was launched in 2019 to help us address the issue of social isolation and loneliness within the RAF Family.
Social isolation and loneliness can affect anyone, and it is linked to a range of damaging health impacts including heart disease, strokes and Alzheimer's disease. Social isolation and loneliness can be experienced at any stage in life, but we recognise that there are certain times in one's life when the risk can be increased; bereavement, living alone or moving to a new area, poor health or reduced mobility, disability and caring responsibilities.
Our 2015 research into the needs of the RAF Family indicates that at least 170,000 members of the RAF Family could be living alone or experiencing isolation issues. Our Community Engagement Workers programme sits alongside our telephone friendship groups and group wellbeing breaks as some of the ways we are tackling this issue.
The Community Engagement Workers assist individuals to become more involved in meaningful and regular sociable activities to help reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation. This can involve providing practical support to overcome whatever barriers an individual faces to being better connected into their local community. This can include financial support from The Fund to put in place transport solutions or cover the cost of respite carers, through to accompanying someone on their first visit to a social group to boost confidence.
If you would like to self-refer into the programme you can do so by calling 0300 102 1919. Alternatively, professionals or caseworkers can use the 'Request our Help' form to refer someone in need of our assistance.
Meet the Community Engagement Workers
Susan Grogan, RAF Benevolent Fund, Norfolk | Susan.Grogan@rafbf.org.uk
Graeme Spark MBE, RAF Benevolent Fund, Lincolnshire | Graeme.Spark@rafbf.org.uk
Matt Rowe, RAF Benevolent Fund, Cambridgeshire | Matt.Rowe@rafbf.org.uk
Declan Geraghty, RAF Benevolent Fund, Suffolk | Declan.Geraghty@rafbf.org.uk