A small charity is making a big difference to the lives of residents in Christchurch. Community Action Network member Christchurch Community Partnership (CCP) has a vision to alleviate social isolation for all adults across Christchurch. The charity, which was originally established in 2008, works in partnership with many other organisations to coordinate vital support and services – support that has never been more important than in recent months. 

‘We have been doing shopping and medication collection for our own and referred residents,’ explains CCP Chair Rev Sandra Prudom. ‘We also started a hot meal delivery service in April for older residents, some of whom would usually attend lunch clubs, as well as for families struggling financially without free school meals and job losses or benefit delays.’ 

A Christchurch Community Partnership volunteer makes a deliveryWith the support of Community Action Network (CAN) and BCP Council, who provided volunteers through the Together we CAN initiative, CCP was able to provide help to both older people locally and families in need referred through the local schools. 

The charity also set up an emergency fund with money donated by local charitable organisations, offering an immediate grant of up to £150 to struggling families, and coordinated smaller projects including initiatives to provide access to funds for laptops for students to support online learning, activity packs for students in challenging circumstances, and a pen palscheme for those who were really isolated during the pandemic. 

‘Social isolation is a big problem in Christchurch, particularly given the age demographic locally,’ Sandra explains, ‘although it isn’t just confined to older people. Finding ways to meaningfully address that in a joined-up way is key to our vision.’ 

‘It has been a huge privilege to work with so many other organisations to support those who are isolated and vulnerable in recent months,’ she continues. ‘Our volunteers have gone the extra mile – and then some.’ 

CCP is now busy putting new projects in place until lunch and social clubs can start again, and is working closely with other organisations to establish telephone friendship groups that will offer support to those isolated at home, both for now and in the future. 

Karen Loftus, chief executive of CAN, said: ‘CCP’s support and services make a huge difference to the lives of the people they help, and the charity does a wonderful job of coordinating local organisations to benefit others. Their initiatives both before and during the pandemic have had such a positive impact on the local community, and we look forward to supporting them in the future.’