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Six ‘Champions’ recognised for combatting loneliness across MEA

(L-R) Chair Marjorie Hawkins, Hannah Bowyer, Alison Kane, Yvonne Carson, Joanne Brown Kerr, Deborah Neill, and Wenda Gray.

Six local residents have been recognised as ‘Loneliness Champions’ in the Borough – helping prevent isolation and showcasing opportunities for people to engage with one another in their own area.

Mid and East Antrim’s Loneliness Network recently presented certificates to Deborah Neill, Hannah Bowyer, Wenda Gray, Joanne Brown Kerr, Alison Kane and Yvonne Carson for all their hard work and dedication.

These vital champions have been using their knowledge, skills and experience along with training to positively impact the lives of others in their local community to help reduce loneliness and isolation.

They aim to carry on their good work by:

• Developing and building relationships within the local community

• Raising awareness about loneliness and social isolation

• Helping to reduce the stigma of loneliness by talking and discussing loneliness openly

• Sharing information about relevant opportunities for people to engage

• Providing key information, advice, support and encouragement to colleagues within the voluntary, community and statutory sectors

• Promoting key initiatives within Mid and East Antrim including Chatty Benches, Chatty Cafes, Chatty Walks and the Kindness Postbox.

Chairperson of Mid and East Antrim Loneliness Network, Marjorie Hawkins, said:

“I am delighted to recognise our first six Loneliness Champions and look forward to many more people coming forward to bring change to their local communities.

“Loneliness can affect anyone at any time in their life - it does not discriminate. We believe that loneliness is not inevitable and people of all ages need connections that matter. Very sadly, the effects of loneliness can have significant long-lasting negative effects on people's health and wellbeing.

“We would love more champions to come on board! If you would like to join us please contact (insert details) and help us go the ‘extra mile’ in tackling loneliness.”

Mid and East Antrim Loneliness Network launched in December 2019 and is made up of a range of community, voluntary and statutory organisations who all work together to prevent and address loneliness.

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