The second long-term lockdown in the UK has had a huge effect on the population’s mental wellbeing. Factors such as home-schooling, working from home and a lack of social interaction has led to a general rise in anxiety across the country.
In response to increased feelings of isolation, fear and worry, many UK-based charities have made their support services accessible from home. One such charity is Richmond Fellowship, one of the biggest voluntary sector providers of mental health care in England. Nationally, Richmond Fellowship offers a wide range of housing, care, employment, and community support across more than 120 services across the UK. Locally, Richmond Fellowship is the lead provider of community connections services for the east Surrey area, covering Redhill, Reigate, Tandridge, Horley, Smallfield and Salfords. The service provides access to a range of short wellbeing/personal development courses in the community including confidence building workshops and IT training.
At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, as with many organisations, all of Richmond Fellowship’s face-to-face services were suspended. However, despite these challenges, Richmond Fellowship responded immediately to ensure their individual support continued and made most of their courses available online within just two days at the start of lockdown.
Richmond Fellowship understands that people are individuals who require varying levels of emotional support. As a result, their services are designed to be flexible, responsive, and innovative. Richmond Fellowship are committed to continually adapting to the needs expressed by the people who rely on them.
A very recent example is the new Life in Lockdown weekly group, set up on 4th January, in response to those struggling with added pressure of the continuing extension to Tier 4 restrictions since late last year.
Currently, Richmond Fellowship offers an array of workshops and programmes to suit differing levels of need, from loneliness to isolation, anxiety to confidence building. Groups range from socially interactive coffee mornings to Mindfulness and Meditation groups and peer support sessions. Longer weekly courses such as Nurturing Your Wellbeing and I.T. skills courses and workshops are also available. People can easily refer themselves if they would like to attend one of the online workshops or if they feel they would benefit from one-to-one support and advice. All Richmond Fellowship’s courses, and individual support services, are provided free of charge.
Victoria B, a user of Richmond Fellowship’s services, says:
“Their courses have enabled me to improve my wellbeing, believe in myself, make friends and develop coping strategies that I can now use in my day to day life.
During this year and the changes in our world due to the coronavirus pandemic Richmond Fellowship has adapted their services. Their motivational emails, podcast and encouragement to be creative, as well as online support groups and courses have made a huge difference to my mental health during the isolation and this extremely difficult time.
I am not sure how I would have coped without them.”
To find out more about Richmond Fellowship’s services, visit www.facebook.com/RFEastSurreyCC. Alternatively, visit the Surrey Virtual Wellbeing
Hub: virtualwellbeing.healthysurrey.org.uk to see a wide range of online activities, crafts, exercise groups and courses offered by the Community Connections providers across the county. All services on the Surrey Virtual Wellbeing Hub are available free of charge.