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Reading 'Letters from Louise'

Guest blog: Omega

  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Social Inclusion

The Fund supports a wide range of causes across the UK and it is always wonderful to share grantee stories and the impact our support can have. We hope you enjoy reading this guest blog from Pete Brophy, CEO of OMEGA, a charity dedicated to ending social isolation and loneliness all over the UK, whom we continue to support with a strategic partnership grant to enable them to meet their aims. We have supported Omega since 2014.

Charles Darwin once may (or may not) have said something similar to ‘it is not the strongest species that survives, but the one most adaptable to change’ – either way I have found that it is this survivability that is common in organisations that flourish within both the business and charitable sectors.

Ironically, Omega, like Charles Darwin was born in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, although with a few hundred years difference between the two events. In 2007 we were created by experts, clinicians, with a specific skill set around caring for people in the latter years of their lives. They recognised that for this cohort, those nearing the end of their lives, and those suffering from life limiting illnesses there was little provision in place for them to be listened to and heard or to connect with.

The social contract seemed to have been broken.

This was more acute in those people who had very little support in place from family or friends, something which, and I include myself here, is too often taken for granted.

And so we were created. To be that listening ear, or friendly face. To help signpost or support. Or just to be there, a familiar, regular, reassuring presence. As we grew, we developed and changed. Through the following years our service was adapted we focussed more on our community group meetings, then our award winning ‘Chatterbox’ telephone and ‘Letter from Louise’ pen-pal befriending services, we developed an I.T. supply programme for people with MND, we thrived and then… the Pandemic happened.

A worldwide catastrophic event like this impacted significantly on charities, and we were no exception, but in a different way. Calls for our support grew as did our volunteer banks due to the sudden availability of a huge workforce and through this we identified that those in need of our support were from across all age ranges, not just the elderly, and with the kind support of the grant provided by the King Charles III Charitable Fund we were able to ensure that we had the resources and people in place determined to support who ever we could where ever we could.

We are now in the position where we are still evolving and although we continue to support those in the later years of life we are also able to help many more socially isolated people in their 20’s and 30’s feel less lonely which in turn has a positive impact on mental health, emotional wellbeing and physical health.

And we are developing new and innovative ways of working with Universities to offer volunteering and employment support to young people, whilst significantly increasing the numbers of clients we help.

Ending Isolation, Ending Loneliness is our ambition, and although it is a huge task I am committed, with the continued support of the King Charles III Charitable Fund to ensuring that I can do all that I can.