There about 17,500 care homes in the UK and over 50,000 churches. If each church adopted a local care home, offering trained volunteers to spend time and build friendships with care home residents, we could make a huge difference to some of the most lonely and isolated people in the UK.
To start a Care Home Friends project, all you'll need is a Care Home Friends Champion and 2 or 3 volunteers.
a Tool Kit giving detailed guidance on how to set up and run the project
all the policies and procedures you need
a simple tool to monitor and evaluate the project
To get started, the best thing to do is host an information session at which our Director, Tina English, will come and talk about what's involved in running a project.
We invite you to ask other local churches along to the evening, as some of the most successful projects we've seen are where churches work together. We can help you get in touch with local churches, create flyers and publicity for the event. All you need to do is to give us some dates that work for you and find a venue.
If you're interested in exploring whether Care Home Friends is the right fit for you and your church, please get in touch with Jen Carter, our National Co-ordinator.
FAQ What types of churches are running a Care Home Friends project? All types of churches from different denominations are already taking part in Care Home Friends.
How much does it cost? It costs approximately £250 to set up each project, which includes training for the Champion and volunteers, a Care Home Friends Toolkit and all the resources and support you'll need. It also includes access to our Facebook group for Care Home Friends Champions, where you can ask questions of those who've been running a project for longer than you have and share resources.
We invite each church to contribute £250 towards the cost of setting up each project, but if your church is unable to make a contribution we are happy to freely give our time and our resources to help you set up a project.
What if we're already running a service in a Care Home? You've probably already seen that there's a huge need for social interaction and may want to take your existing project a step further and make a great impact. People in care homes often need social interaction and enjoy spending time with people from the 'outside world', as they see it. If you're already visiting a Care Home, it's actually an 'easy win' as you've already got the connection.
In terms of team, it may be that some of your existing team would love to get involved making one-to-one visits with residents. Or you may have people in your church who aren't already part of the team for whatever reason, who can see how they could get involved, fitting in their visit around their own busy schedule.
How many volunteers do I need? You can start with just 2 or 3 volunteers and build up from there.
What does it mean to run an Information Evening? We will give you all the resources needed to run it - we'll create graphics that you can use to publicise the event with flyers and on social media. All you need to do is host the evening.
Do I have to host an information session to start a project? No! But it's a great way to find others locally who are on a similar journey and you can support each other.
What's Next? If this sounds like an opportunity that you'd like to explore, the next step is to get in touch with Jen, who co-ordinates the project and is happy to answer any of your questions.
If you'd like to run an information evening in your town, village or City, the first step is to set a date. Once that's agreed, we can help you with publicity materials and getting the word out to other local churches.
You can get in touch by phoning Jen on 0203 7780035 (choose option 3 to speak directly to Jen), or send a message on our Facebook page and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.
"Do not cast me away when I am old; do not forsake me when my strength is gone.” Psalm 71v9